How to Relieve Stress with These 6 Natural Treatments

Stress is very common. Natural remedies can provide some relief for everyday stressors and provide balance for your overall health and well-being.

A young woman breathing the fresh air in a big city after work as a step on how to relieve stress

We are living in a very stressful time. Challenges with work, divorce, illness, parenting, school, money, and other situations such as COVID-19 can cause stress. According to the American Psychological Association, 74% of U.S. adults have experienced the impacts of stress due to COVID-19. The survey shows the majority of people experiencing stress are Gen Z adults (79%) and millennials (74%).

Stress occurs when you perceive a condition, imaged or real, to be a threat to your well-being. There are different types of stress — acute, episodic, and chronic.

Firstly, acute stress is extremely common and does not usually cause any health problems. A sudden change of plans or environment can cause this but will usually ease once a person finds a solution to their problem. 

However, if a person experiences frequent episodes of acute stress, it is instead referred to as acute episodic stress. This can affect a person physically and psychologically and exacerbate existing health problems like digestive issues, headaches, high blood pressure, or panic attacks

On the other hand, chronic stress is a result of multiple stressors affecting a person at once. Some of the most widely-known triggers of chronic stress include conflicts in a relationship, family troubles, job instability, personal health problems, and threats to personal safety. 

So, how to relieve stress? Natural methods are one way to help you relax and manage the tension effectively. Below, you will find more about stress and how to naturally relieve it.

What are the Signs of Stress Affecting Mental Health?

A young man feeling stressed and confused as he sees a mail
Stress is extremely common and can make us feel overwhelmed. Oftentimes, stress leads to brain fog.

Unmanaged stress can greatly impact our well-being. However, it does affect everyone differently. Some key signs of stress affecting mental health include:

  • Depression
  • Inability to make choices
  • Restless or trouble sleeping
  • Racing thoughts
  • Angry
  • Trouble making decisions
  • Skin problems
  • Memory issues
  • Pain throughout the body
  • Confusion or “brain fog”
  • Loss of interest in work, life, relationships

6 Natural Treatments for Stress Management

Adults are most likely to be dealing with different types of stress as compared to teenagers and young children. However, children can also deal with stress due to pressure at school, bullying, parental divorce, and COVID-19.

As you can see, stress can do so much more to the body. So, it is important to speak to a psychologist or medical professional about your specific treatment options. Below, you will also find some ways to relieve stress using TCM practices and natural options.

1. Acupuncture and acupressure massages

An illustration of two acupoints he gu and tai chong to relieve stress
Stimulating these two acupoints can help restore the flow of your vital energy, thus making your body feel more relaxed.

A licensed Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) physician typically performs acupuncture. It requires the insertion of disposable needles to stimulate specific points on the body. A TCM physician will apply pressure on acupuncture points to restore balance to a person’s qi, or vital energy. 

For stress, you can apply pressure on your own or via acupuncture on point LI-4 of the large intestine meridian (He Gu) and LR-3 of the liver meridian (Tai Chong). He Gu is located between the web of the first and second finger — in a “V” shape — exactly on the indentation of the second finger bone. Tai Chong is located between the big toe and the second toe. Alternatively, you can relieve stress by doing a simple exercise. This exercise requires you to place both palms on your chest. In a downward motion, slide them from your collarbone to your stomach. Practice this 15-20 times. 

Consume a herbal remedy with sliced ginseng to restore energy levels, reduce body heat, and relieve stress. Additionally, you can take lingzhi cracked pores that are known to calm the mind as well as provide the body with other benefits.

2. Meditation and breathing exercises

A young woman meditating in front of her computer screens as she is working during the day
Meditation is an easy way to relieve stress, even while you’re working.

The practice of meditation or deep breathing is also effective for reducing stress. Meditation can help you relax, stay calm, and promote mindfulness. An 8-week Harvard study showed that mindfulness can lower stress levels and lower blood pressure.

The beauty of meditation is that it is free and can be done on your time! To practice, simply find a quiet space and comfortable position. Next, allow yourself to sit. Close your eyes and take a deep breath as you repeat a sound, word, phrase, or movement. Feel the chest rise and fall and the expansion of your belly. At the same time, enable thoughts to come and go as you focus on the repetition. Allow the breath to be natural and as a tool to stay focused. Aim for 10 minutes every day, however, 20 minutes 2 times a day is recommended for maximum benefits.

Additional relaxation practices include yoga, tai chi, repetitive prayer, and other meditative practices. You will find what works for you. The key is to be consistent and include it every day.

3. Drink flower teas

A man pouring himself a cup of chamomile tea as he is working to calm his mind
A daily cup of herbal tea can alleviate stress and calm the nerves.

Long-term stress elevates a person’s risk of developing serious illnesses. You can alleviate this every day by enjoying flower or herbal tea. TCM practices include the use of chamomile, lavender, lily bulbs, mint leaves, and rosebuds. Chamomile is an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant medicinal herb used to treat various health problems. For the treatment of mental health disorders, specifically, drinking chamomile tea can help calm the nerves, reduce anxiety, and help with insomnia

In the same way, you can use dried lavender buds to make a tea that calms the nerves, relaxes the muscles, and relieve stress whilst preventing headaches and muscle pain. On the other hand, rosebuds and mint leaves can be infused in freshly boiled water before drinking to alleviate or prevent stress. It is also safe for consumption by children, albeit in lower doses. Lily bulbs, alternatively, can be boiled together with lotus seeds to treat the signs of stress, such as anxiety, insomnia, irritability, and restlessness.

4. Enjoy exercise

Exercise is an incredible way to fight stress. This can be anything that gets your body moving for 20-30 minutes. Movement helps to create the production of your brain’s endorphins. These are our feel-good neurotransmitters that improve our mood. Additionally, exercise protects our bodies from stress. In the long run, this also has positive benefits on cardiovascular, digestive, and immune systems.

Similarly, tai chi and yoga practices are effective in alleviating stress and improving your overall wellness. Practiced for hundreds of years, these gentle, low-intensity exercises are a great way to connect with your body and mind as you flow and move into various positions. These practices, over time, can improve your mood, energy, flexibility, enhance your sleep, and improve your overall well-being. Start with 15 minutes a day in your local park or in your home.

5. Get enough sleep

Sleep is necessary for good health as it allows our body and brain to rest. Likewise, restful sleep between 1:00 and 3:00 AM enables the liver meridian to supply qi actively to the liver system — responsible for managing stress and emotions — so that it can get rid of toxins from the blood. Then, between 3:00 and 5:00 AM, the clean blood and qi will be delivered to the various organ systems. 

Sour dates can potentially help people with insomnia get quality sleep daily by nourishing the heart and liver. A herbal tonic that uses sour dates and ingredients like vinegar and walnut membrane can also be consumed to improve sleep quality by calming the mind and body. 

6. Find a hobby

Our minds are racing more than ever these days. Finding something that you love to do outside of work can help to relieve stress and promote a sense of calm. Some fun stress-relievers include playing music, gardening, drawing, reading, knitting, cooking, or sewing, to name a few options. This can offer a nice escape to those who are suffering from stress as they are focused on an activity that brings them joy. Some hobbies might also include other people, which will allow you to connect and talk.

Experiencing stress at various stages of life is completely normal. On the bright side, taking steps to manage your stress effectively can provide a ton of health benefits, as well as improve your overall quality of life. Natural remedies are generally inexpensive and can be incorporated into your day. Along with TCM practices, you will have the tools to manage your life with ease and control.

References

  1. American Psychological Association. 2021. Stress in America 2021. [Accessed on December 14, 2021]
  2. Mental Health America. 2021. Stress . [Accessed on December 14, 2021]
  3. Kentucky Mental Health Care. 2021. What are the key signs of stress affecting mental health?. [Accessed on December 14, 2021]
  4. The Harvard Gazette. 2018. With mindfulness, life’s in the moment. [Accessed on December 14, 2021]
  5. Harvard. 2018. Harvard Study: Clearing Your Mind Affects Your Genes And Can Lower Your Blood Pressure. [Accessed on December 14, 2021]
  6. Mayo Clinic. 2020. Exercise and stress: Get moving to manage stress. [Accessed on December 14, 2021]
  7. Mayo Clinic. 2021. Tai chi: A gentle way to fight stress. [Accessed on December 14, 2021]
  8. Stress and Insomnia. 2021. Stress and Insomnia. [Accessed on December 14, 2021]

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