Stress is a natural part of life. Your heart starts beating faster right before public speaking. You get irritable stuck in traffic or on a crowded subway when you’re running late for a meeting. Or you feel anxious about an impending deadline.
We all experience bouts of stress and anxiety at times throughout the week. This is called acute stress because it is short-lived (hopefully) and the body has time to adapt and recover.
The good news is that there are an array of natural remedies to help your body deal with stress and anxiety right when it is happening and aid the body in recovery. These are my top five natural solutions for immediate relief from stress and anxiety:
1. Rescue Remedy — This has been called “yoga in a bottle” because it calms the body under acute stress. It is totally natural and contains five of the 38 Bach Flower Essences: Rock Rose for terror and panic, Impatiens for irritation and impatience, Clematis for inattentiveness, Star of Bethlehem for shock and Cherry Plum for irrational thoughts.
It’s small enough that you can keep it in your pocket or your bag, take it anywhere, anytime — just put a drop of the liquid under your tongue or suck on a lozenge. I’ve used this many times in the past before speaking in front of a crowd (along with breathing deeply), and it really helped me adapt until I felt completely comfortable and don’t use it anymore.
Four more ways to quickly de-stress after the jump.
2. Badger Yoga & Meditation balm— I rub it on the insides of my wrists or my temples before a yoga class or on the subway when it’s so crowded you can barely move and I instantly feel better. The scents of sandalwood, frankincense, and myrrh are used in both Eastern and Western traditions to increase balance and promote a calm centeredness. Cedarwood sharpens the mind, and the citrus essential oils of mandarin and litsea cubeba create a cheerful sense of peaceful awareness. The balm contains at least 80% Certified Organic Ingredients and you can find it at any health food store.
3. Chamomile — As as tea or tincture, this herb is effective in lowering anxiety. Even better results have been found when combining it with another relaxing herb such a passionflower or valerian root. People who suffer from anxiety can benefit from chamomile because it promotes relaxation almost immediately. People who do not suffer from anxiety may find it helpful to promote a restful state and a deep sleep. I drink Organic Sweet Dreams loose leaf tea from Davids Tea or Chamomile from Nourish Tea and I find that both help me relax, particularly after a stressful day.
4. Sex — Yes, seriously! A study published in the journal of Biological Psychology found that sexual intercourse between two cohabiting people lowers blood pressure and they had better responses to stressful situations than those not having sex. As well (if you need another reason to get busy in the bedroom) researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and the University of North Carolina found that having sex and orgasms increases levels of the hormone oxytocin, the so-called love hormone, which helps us bond and build trust. Having a loving, trusting relationship with your partner is key to lowering stress as well.
5. Deep breathing — This is worthy of an entire post. If you don’t breathe properly, you can’t possible oxygenate every cell of your body. The easiest way to calm yourself when you feel short of breath due to a stressful situation is to take deep belly breaths. This is why meditation and yoga are very effective at reducing stress and anxiety because you learn how to properly breathe. If you don’t want to take a class, then simply just place your hand on your belly, breathe deeply so you feel your belly expand and contract. Do this at 3 distinct times throughout the day: Take 10 deep breaths. It will make a big difference.
Joy McCarthy, Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Health Coach of Joyous Health, loves to inspire others to eat well and live well. She is the co-creator of Eat Well Feel Well, a holistic nutrition and yoga program in Toronto.