A Holistic Guide to Reducing Stress
Let’s face it, we live in a busy world. More than ever, life moves forward at a faster pace and people have to deal with a lot more mentally than they once did. Granted, physically for many life is much easier. The shift between physical activity and mental stimulation takes time for the human mind and yet, technology has increased the mental flow of things exponentially. The human body isn’t designed for immediate evolution and therefore, sometimes lacks the coping skills in order to adapt on its own.
This is why doctors and health professionals often recommend physical and mental health supplements, as well as an array of pharmaceuticals and over the counter drugs in order to combat some very real problems for the human psyche. The fact is, everyone has some problem coping with stress to some degree.
For one person it may come out in physical symptoms and for another it may be literally, all in their head. This doesn’t make the problem any less real. Understanding the causes of stress, triggers for inducing increased stress and learning how to cope is a process that takes time and patience.
If you are interested in finding ways to reduce stress or to simply combat the symptoms of it in a holistic and natural approach, you are not alone. People are beginning to realize that there are simple solutions and that the damage stress causes is not worth it. Furthermore, they are seeking alternative therapies and going back to nature for stress relieving supplements, holistic activities and other ways that they can make a positive change to the stress in their lives on their terms. This is especially true as people begin to become more educated about triggers, symptoms and consequences of stress.
That being said, let’s take a look at stress indicating symptoms that you may notice when you’re under stress. Keep in mind that symptoms often get worse with more stress, whether in the amount of triggers or the intensity of it.
Recognizing the Signs of Stress
Stress is how your body reacts to a threat, be it imaginary or real. Even if you are the cause of stress or mentally creating problems that don’t exist, your body will still react like it is under immediate pressure.
Long ago, there was a need for this reaction. It kept you agile and quick on your toes. It ws great if there was a bear about to attack you or if you were in an immediate danger. Stress caused you to strive forward and was one of those traits that helped your ancestors survive, which is why you are able to be here and reading this guide.
Today, the stress triggers that we face cause sometimes overreaching responses in our brain. We react before we process or have time to deal with the situation at hand. This can lead to warning signs of stress, often which are great signs for you to follow and step back in order to regain composure or control over the situation.
There are a number of common, tell-tale signs of stress that are often noted in people. While each person is different, it is common to see one or more of these symptoms present when highly stressful situations occur.
If you notice that any of the following symptoms last more than a week, it may be a good idea to seek the advice of a medical or mental health professional. Additionally, if you begin taking stress reducing supplements and do not notice a difference within 6 weeks, you should follow up and see if you should alter doses or if there is an underlying condition that may be contributing to your symptoms.
Read on to see what some of the common signs are and some natural solutions to supplement periods of your life while under stress.
Anger, Rage, and Anxiety
Emotional outbursts are common when you are under stress. It is the body’s way of reacting, trying to regain control over the situation. Chronic stress can exacerbate anger, rage and anxiety. Thankfully, there a number of stress supplements that address these issues directly. Additionally, if you experience a chemical imbalance or a mental disorder, your mental health care provider may recommend you taking some of the ones added in this guide.
Some of the most effective supplements for combating stress induced emotional outbursts are:
- John’s Wort
Disruption Of Menstrual Cycle
While many women don’t really worry about a disruption of the menstrual cycle, it can be a pain. Literally. Menstruation that is not regular can cause painful cramps or make it difficult to avoid pregnancy. Additionally, it can cause problems getting pregnant. For this reason, many women that have chronic stress in their lives will turn to stress reducing supplements. They can help to balance out the hormones that go haywire during stressful periods and can reduce other negative effects to women’s issues.
It is recommended to take stress reducing supplements for this problem even when you are not experiencing them.This is because hormonal imbalances shift over time, meaning that it takes time to adjust. Stress reducing supplements will help alleviate problems. However, they take more time than average to have a beneficial effect on the menstrual cycle. If you are taking them before stress hits, you can avoid the hormonal decline that often associates women in stressful situations.
Some of the most effective stress relieving supplements for combatting the disruption of menstrual cycle are:
- Vitamin B Complex
It’s a fact that stress makes you feel tired. Many people will seek out energy supplements before they will turn to stress reducing supplements because they don’t realize what the problem is. However, when you consider what goes on in your body when you are under stress… Your muscles are cramping, your head hurts, your heart pounds or you can’t breathe. These all take a toll on the body. Stress reducing supplements can alleviate the common symptoms of stress before you get tired. This can cause you to feel like you have more energy and feel better. In turn, you’ll be able to sleep better and take your stress head on, without feeling tired and sluggish in the first place.
Some of the most effective supplements for combatting stress induced fatigue are:
- B Complex Vitamins
Stress causes tension in the body, which is the most common cause for headaches for people that are undergoing stressful situations in their lives. Overuse of pain relievers such as ibuprofen can cause liver damage. For this reason, you may want to consider stress reducing supplements to also get rid of your headaches and migraines. They can help you get the relief you need without causing additional harm to your system.
Some of the most effective supplements for combatting stress induced headaches are:
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B2
A common side effect of stress is the inability to sleep or being unable to stay asleep. Many people suffer from insomnia when they are mentally overwhelmed and will try to treat that symptom specifically. However, it has been proven that you need more than just sleep. You need restful sleep.
Supplements for sleep and stress reducing supplements can both help the body to heal and recover during times of stress. They help you to combat the negative effects of sleep loss, which also compound many of the common symptoms of stress such as:
- Poor concentration
- Memory loss
- Poor Immunity
Instead of getting frustrated about not sleeping, consider adding stress alleviating supplements to get your sleep back on track.
Some of the most effective supplements for combatting sleeplessness and insomnia are:
- Valerian Root
Pain causes the body to overreact, which can lead to a depletion of vitamins and minerals. It can also boost chemicals in the body that are normally beneficial, but that can cause damage when over abundant. Additionally, stress can actually make pain feel worse. Because our emotions and feelings are heightened when we are stressed, pain can feel more intense than it really is.
Stress reducing supplements can aid in many of the negative side effects of stress including increased joint pain, muscle soreness, upset stomach and headache. If you have a specific condition that normally causes pain such as arthritis, or if you are recovering from surgery, adding depleted minerals vitamins and minerals to your diet can also aid in healing.
Some of the most effective supplements for combatting stress induced pain are:
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
In times of stress, a lot of people notice that they get sick more often. This is because stress can place pressure on the body, causing it to work harder (and in some cases to work inefficiently). It is common that those under extreme stress such as when they are going through a divorce, have a death in the family or move residences, that they are unable to process nutrients properly. This is often compounded by the fact that people don’t usually take care of their nutritional needs while under stress, by either a lack of eating or overeating. This is one of the main reasons that stress reducing supplements are so beneficial. They can fill i the gaps when essential vitamins and minerals are depleted. Additionally, they provide much needed support to the immune system, which can be in crisis when a person is experiencing stress.
Some of the most effective stress reducing supplements for combatting poor immune function caused by stress are:
- Vitamin B Complex
15 Additional Supplements For Stress Reduction
So far, you have seen that there are options to treat stress with supplements, but it’s smart to understand exactly how these herbs and naturally occurring stress relievers can be of a benefit. Let’s take a look at each one independently to learn about how they affect the body and why they are an ideal choice when considering a supplement to help with stress symptoms.
Ashwagandha (Indian Ginseng)
Also known as Indian Ginseng, Ashwagandha has been a number of stress reducing properties that make it an ideal supplement choice. Many drugs used to treat depression and anxiety include compounds of this herb.
How Can Ashwagandha Help Relieve Stress?
Studies show that ashwagandha can help to relieve the symptoms of stress including anxiety, by nearly 40%. This alone is a reason to include it in your routine as a supplement to combat the effects of stress. It acts similar to a tranquilizer, to relax the body. This provides you with an overwhelming sense of well-being and can alleviate symptoms including racing thoughts and nervous tension.
Commonly known as Loco Weed, astragalus is one of the many popular Chinese herbs that are used in teas and tinctures in order to combat the side effects of stress.
How Can Astragalus Help Relieve Stress?
Astragalus helps to increase white blood cells in the body, thus being beneficial to immunity. For this reason it is a good supplement to take when looking to alleviate stress. It can help keep you healthy even during intensely stressful times in your life.
There are a number of plants that make up the Asteraceae family. These plants, similar to daisy flowers, provide incredible relief when used as a supplement for stress. Ebile in raw form, chamomile flowers are used in teas and tinctures to ease the body, enable sleep and relax the mind. Oils are made from the flowers or they can be dried and ground and added to tea. For maximum benefit, it is best to take chamomile throughout the day to keep a balanced amount of the compounds in the system and to see the best results.
How Can Chamomile Help Relieve Stress?
Chamomile provides a number of benefits when seeking to reduce or remove stress. The combination of plants works as a natural and holistic sedative on the body, inducing a calming effect and promoting restful sleep. Within the plants are flavonoids, one specifically – luteolin, which works is also an antispasmodic. It causes your body to not over react to external stimuli and can be beneficial to keep a cool head when under pressure.
Curcumin is what gives the spice turmeric its yellow color and can be found in the spice section of most grocery stores. It can be taken as a powder or a pill.
How Can Curcumin Help Relieve Stress?
Not only does curcumin help to regulate serotonin and noradrenalin in the brain, it also helps to produce dopamine. When these chemicals are balanced in the brain, you’re likely to feel more at ease and be able to bounce back with ease when your body is placed under stress. Additionally, recent studies have shown that curcumin is an effective sleep supplement that can counteract the side effects of sleep deprivation, which as you know are exacerbated by stress.
Feverfew is a pretty flower that packs a punch. The herb has been used all over the world as a medicine for headaches, body aches, menstruation relief and to lower inflammation. To reduce stress this supplement can be taken as a pill or powder or mixed in with other herbs to make a tea or tincture.
How Can Feverfew Help Relieve Stress?
The active compound in feverfew is parthenolide, which can help to alleviate anxiety, headaches and relax the body. Additionally, it has an anti inflammatory effect on the body that can reduce pain that is often more intense during times of stress. For women, this is an additional herb that has beneficial effects as a stress reducing supplement and one that can help with menstruation. Feverfew can help you cut down on cramps and pain before your period starts.
GABA (AKA) Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
Like other amino acids, this one is also found naturally in the brain, but is production can be stunted by outside influences.
How Can GABA Help Relieve Stress?
This stress reducing supplement can help to alleviate anxiety and irritability associated with stress by helping to regulate the body’s response to stress. GABA also aids in hormone management, having having additional benefits for women. It can affect menstruation regulation and reduce (or even prevent) PMS symptoms, all which can be exacerbated by stress.
Your muscles need magnesium in order to function and it can be attained through a variety of natural sources such as dairy, meat and certain vegetables. It helps to regulate the muscles, working in conjunction with Vitamin D.
How Can Magnesium Help Relieve Stress?
Magnesium helps the muscles by allowing them to relax. Magnesium deficiency has been linked to muscle spasms and muscle aching, both of which can be exacerbated by stress. Ensuring enough magnesium in your diet or through stress reducing supplements can ensure that you are able to rest when needed and take comfortable breaks to ease the pressure both mentally and physically.
On top of relaxation, magnesium helps the body to combat stress directly through hormonal fluctuations. Magnesium acts as major player in the regulation of stress responses in conjunction with male and female hormones. Having enough magnesium in the body can reduce the intensity of mood swings and irritability that can be brought on by stress.
Melatonin is naturally produced in the pineal gland, located within the brain. However, a number of outside causes such as stress, lack of sleep or poor nutrition can cause the body to not create enough of this compound. When the body doesn’t have enough melatonin, a person may experience lack of sleep, being tired in the middle of the day or the inability to fall asleep.
How Can Melatonin Help Relieve Stress?
Melatonin regulates sleep cycles and can be used to combat insomnia or just to get a good night’s rest now and then. This is helpful for those that end up tossing and turning, unable to sleep due to stress. Melatonin supplements are best when used regularly in order to keep up the body’s natural storage amounts and to promote regular natural melatonin production.
Phosphatidylserine (PS), like other chemical compounds, is present in the body naturally. If you choose to include this as a stress reducing supplement, it is best taken in conjunction with melatonin, right before bedtime.
How Can Phosphatidylserine Help Relieve Stress?
Phosphatidylserine (PS) reduces the soreness of muscles and can help you both respond to stress better and to sleep more soundly.
Rhodiola (aka Arctic Root or Golden Root)
Rhodiola is commonly used to treat anxiety, headaches and other symptoms of anxiety. It has been for centuries. They grow in deserts and very harsh environments, mostly in the northern parts of Europe and Siberia. As a supplement that helps with stress it can be taken as a tea, tonic or pill form.
How Can Rhodiola Help Relieve Stress?
Rhodiola helps the body limit the amount of cortisol that it creates with the help of This makes it helpful for not only fighting stress but also losing weight. It is considered an adaptogen because it allows the body to adapt to certain situations better.
St. John’s Wort
A natural herb that is commonly grown across the globe, St. John’s Wort is effective in regulating moods. For this reason it can have a beneficial effect on those suffering through stressful periods of time. .
How Can St. John’s Wort Help Relieve Stress?
The two main compounds that St. John’s Wort consists of that help the body when in a stressful state are hypericin and hyperforin, which both have beneficial regulatory effects on the body. Research has shown that in combination with valerian root, St. John’s Wort is more effective than some popular traditional prescription medications prescribed for anxiety and other mental health disorders.
Popularized by energy drinks like Monster and Rock Star, taurine is a common chemical component that can actually reduce stress and anxiety. It is another of the acids that have beneficial effects on mental health within the body.
How Can Taurine Help Relieve Stress?
Recommended to be used in conjunction with GABA to reduce anxiety specifically, taurine can inhibit the response that the body has to anxiety. It is considered a natural anxiolytic, something that blocks anxiety responses within the body.
You may have heard that green tea is good for stress. One of the main reasons for that is because of Theanine. It is a compound that is found in green tea, considered an amino acid.
How Can Theanine Help Relieve Stress?
Theanine reduces the effects of psychological stress, through altering how your body perceives stress. This can help with stress because it will cause you to react less intensely to triggers and can help you keep calm under pressure.
This herb is popular in Europe and used across the world as a stress reduction herb. It has positive effects on the nervous system and provides a calming effect on the body. As a stress reducing supplement, valerian root is commonly taken as a tea or tincture.
How Can Valerian Root Help Relieve Stress?
Compounds within the valerian plant have soothing effects on the human body. These compounds are most plentiful in the root and have been easy to attain and ingest for humans because of this. The root, when steeped in hot water, releases the compound that sedates the body and has been proven highly beneficial in combatting anxiety, irritability, mood shifts and sleeplessness.
A word of warning when taking valerian root as a supplement for stress, that if you take too much of it or enough of it regularly, it can cause lethargy and sluggishness. This is one of those herbs that you will want to discuss with your primary care provider to see which amount will work best for your specific stress related needs.
Vitamin B Complex
B complex vitamins can be found in many foods such as citrus, meats and leafy greens. Additionally, you can usually get adequate levels of your B vitamins when you take a multivitamin. However, you may need additional supplements if your body is under a lot of stress as it needs more help to regulate mood and to fight fatigue. B vitamins can be taken in liquid, pill, powder or shot form.
How Can Vitamin B Complex Help Relieve Stress?
Each of the B vitamins have a different benefit but when combined as a stress reduction supplement they give you more energy, ease hormonal shifts and are important in the production of serotonin. Research suggests that many of the B vitamins provide not only stress reduction but also combat many of the symptoms that are experienced when the body is under stress. It is helpful in a number of areas such as increasing concentration and improving mood.
Other Ways You Can Reduce Stress
In addition to natural supplements for stress there are a number of things that you can do in your daily life in order to ease the symptoms that stress can sometimes cause. Often, we know what needs to be done but when stressed the mind gets so overwhelmed and it is hard to remember what step to take next in order to get ourselves more on even keel.
Try to keep in mind some of the simple positive changes that you can take for your own life. You will likely find that if you combine them with some of the more popular stress supplements that you are not responding to stress the same way and have an easier time rebounding emotionally when life catches you unaware.
It sounds cliche’ but there have been proven results scientifically that shows that a positive attitude can help reduce your body’s response to stress. Writing things down, focusing on the positive when you get overwhelmed and counting the blessings versus overthinking the bad are all healthier ways to promote healthy mental well-being while under stress.
Being grateful isn’t just about saying thank you. It is also about noting the positive things that happen in your life. For this reason a gratitude journal can work wonders for reminding you of the joys in your life so that you don’t focus on the strife. Professional life coaches often advise carrying a gratitude journal with you when you go. This can help you create a running tally of the good things as well as give you a place to refer back when you find yourself focusing on all of the pressures of life.
Did you ever notice when you are happy and in the moment that time seems to fly by. When the body is under stress though, it can put our minds to think outside of the current situation, which leads to spiraling thoughts such as, “What if…”. You may also find that you tend to think about the past, including mistakes or things that you could do differently.
Focus on what is going on now right now and what you can actually accomplish in the moment when your mind begins wandering. Being present means taking the time to focus on your behavior and the environment around you with accute awareness. When you feel that things are slipping out of your control, be sure to allow yourself 5 minutes to focus on everything around you including physical sensations like your feet on the floor or wind in your hair or the texture of food that you may be chewing.
Doing this will allow you to reduce stress and manage your stress more efficiently.
We all know that breathing is essential to life. When under stress the body can sometimes go into what is known as panic mode.
Symptoms of panic mode breathing include:
- Short breaths
- Quick breathing
- Rapid heart rate
- Not breathing or holding your breath
Getting too little oxygen or none at all can both cause symptoms such as light headedness and unclear thinking patterns. These symptoms were once helpful in more feral times of human history where there was an immediate need for the flight or fight reaction. In today’s society, it’s not allowed to just get up and run away. In fact, there may be times when you are at your desk at work or in a car, where you truly can’t go anywhere.
To combat this, breathing deeply can help get oxygen to the brain quickly without causing you to hyperventilate. Allow yourself a five to ten minute break where you sit and simply focus on your breathing. Make sure that your spine is straight, eyes are closed and you can breathe deeply comfortably. It may help to place your hand on your stomach, feeling the diaphragm as you inhale and breathe through your nose. As you begin to feel your abdomen swell, such in air for about 4 seconds or as much as you can comfortably, yet slowly. Then hold your breath for three seconds and exhale slowly, the same way while you focus on the physical sensation of your body moving and air flowing in and out of your lungs.
The oxygen will help to clear your breath. If you have issues with breathing, you may want to also consider supplements for your lungs, which are herbs and remedies that help your body process oxygen better. For those that react to stress and get physical symptoms often, herbs such as feverfew, chamomile and St. John’s Wort can all be beneficial.
Decompress Your Muscles
Your muscles store much of the internal stress, holding tight in case you need to sprint. This is caused by the same flight or fight response that you experience when you have difficulty breathing.
To counteract this, it is important to force your body to relax, decompressing the muscles and allowing yourself the opportunity to unwind. A good way to do this is with a warm wrap that you place around your muscles that are cramping up, often the shoulder and back.
During this time, close your eyes and talk your body into relaxing by focusing on the muscles specifically in the body. Concentrate on the muscles in your neck then the upper chest, working down to stomach, hips legs and feet.
Additionally, if you find that your stress is work or desk related, you can also try to use an exercise ball when you are working. Place the ball underneath you and every hour or so adjust and bounce on the ball lightly or roll along the top of it stretching your muscles. This will alleviate that
Exercise is a great way to release endorphins and to overpower the stress with a more positive energy within your body. It doesn’t even matter what you do. You can run, bike, walk run or play a sport. Really, what it comes down to is getting your heart pumping so that your body can create more of those feel good chemicals that help to alleviate stress within the body.
It’s true what they say, laughter truly is the best medicine. In fact, studies have shown that laughter can reduce stress, even if it isn’t real. Of course, it is more fun to find something entertaining to laugh about, but even forced laughter can have positive effects on the body.
If you have time, watch a movie, show or comedian that brings out the laughs for you. Extended periods of laughter are shown to have more proven effects.
However, if you don’t have anything to laugh about, try to force it. Build up a guttural laugh and let it out for a few minutes. You may want to be alone for that, or your co-workers may give you a funny look.
Listen To Your Favorite Music
Music is a great outlet for people undergoing stress and science has shown that relaxing melodic tones can actually help your body calm down in times of stress. It is suggested to have a play list on hand, one that you like of course, that has calming or soothing music for your mood.
Some people will say that loud and crazy music make them feel better. If this is you, that is okay as well. It is suggested to tone down your tunes, but don’t do it all at once. Familiar music is often the most soothing. If you find that you are attracted to metal or rock that blares loud and is the opposite of soothing, start to incorporate lighter tones into the play list until you grow accustomed to feeling their calming effects.
You don’t have to be a monk to have meditation work for you. Research suggests that you people can benefit from even the smallest amount of meditation per day. It is best to start of simple, perhaps only for a few minutes a day. Form habits where you add more time incrementally.
The best way to start to do this is by finding yourself a quiet place that you can relax and concentrate. Sit on the floor with your legs crossed or in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Focus our attention through words or images. Let your mind wander on the intended focus, blocking out stressful thoughts from the day. During this time focus on breathing and be aware of your physical sensations. For some people it may be helpful to have a recorded meditation guide, which can easily be found online.
While silence can definitely help to heal the mind, don’t suffer your stress like this. Utilize resources like social media, but don’t let it be a cause of the stress. Reach out to friends and family that are supportive.
It has been proven that hanging out with friends and people that make us feel good can help us reduce stress and improve general mood. Try to make time for these people, preferably in person and talk to others about what is going on in your life. It’s easy to forget that we are not alone, but the truth is that we rarely ever are. Sometimes we just need to reach out and let people know what is going on.
You Have The Power To Reduce Your Stress
It may not seem like it at the time, but you do have the power to overcome the stress in your life and take control of your own mental health. Of course, if you have a condition such as bipolar disorder or depression, you will want to talk to your mental health provider about what supplements and activities will be the most beneficial.
That being said, it is important to remember that this journey is yours. Life can be difficult, even impossible sometimes. You can face stresses from family, finances, work, school and more. Those that deal well with stress know that there are things that they can do and make an effort to seek out healthy options that help to balance their mental and physical needs. You can too. Develop a plan filled with stress reducing supplements, healthy lifestyle choices and being aware of your own stressful triggers in your life. This will help you to manage everything easier and make your life much smoother.