Everyone gets stressed sometimes. Whether it be financial or personal, significant stress is an unfortunate aspect of modern living. But, too much stress can be a bad thing. Whether you have trouble sleeping or find yourself becoming more irritable, stress takes a toll on our bodies. It is the leading cause of innumerable diseases, and can be single-handedly responsible for symptoms such as hair loss, high blood pressure, headaches, depression, drastic weight changes, ulcers, and more. So, next time you feel the need to pop a chill pill, try one of these more natural remedies instead.
Lavender. If you ever have trouble falling asleep at night, try spritzing some lavender essential oil into the nighttime air. Lavender helps calm anxiety and can soothe the mind and body to help you sleep more soundly. Intrigued? Aromatherapy has been shown to trigger various moods and sensations, and can be used to fight depression, fatigue, anxiety, headaches, indigestion, et cetera. Find a specialist near you to learn more.
Sweet Potato. What do you normally reach for when you’re stressed out? Probably sweets or salty carbs, I’d gamble. Next time, try some sweet potato instead. It will kill your cravings, satisfy your frenzied emotions, and help you digest more slowly due to their high fiber content. Plus, there will be no post-splurge guilt, as there would be if you ate a huge piece (or two) of cake. If you are really craving comfort food, try steamed and mashed sweet potatoes with a dash of coconut milk. Yum!
Chamomile. Chamomile tea has been shown to relax the body and muscles before sleep. Although chamomile’s benefits have not been medically proven, it has been used for centuries for its sedative qualities as well as an immune booster. Go ahead and brew up a pot of fresh tea to give your body a helping hand. Even better, add some raw honey into your tea (once it has cooled to drinking temperature to retain raw honey’s beneficial enzymes) for an additional boost.
Dark Chocolate. As if you need another reason to enjoy chocolate! A recent study has shown that eating 1.4 ounces of dark chocolate lowers your body’s stress hormones and reduces anxiety. The stress hormone cortisol, in particular, can easily become imbalanced and lead to long term disease and disfunction. It is well known that too much cortisol can also lead to accumulated belly fat, so, in a way, a small piece of chocolate a day could help to keep the belly fat at bay! (OK, it’s a lot more complicated than that, but a girl can dream.) Also, your brain releases endorphins when you nibble chocolate, so it’s a double-whammy of happiness! Just be sure to enjoy in moderation.
St. John’s Wort. Useful if you’re feeling down-and-out, this herb has been shown to significantly increase mood and attitude in patients with mild depression. It has been used for centuries as a natural anti-depressant and is a fairly ubiquitous plant, often regarded as a weed. However, be sure to consult your doctor before adding any new herbs or regimens into your diet to avoid allergic reaction or misdiagnosis.
Peanut Butter. If you aren’t getting enough sleep and are feeling cranky, grab a spoonful of organic, unsweetened peanut butter. Being high in vitamin B6, it helps to regulate blood sugar, which stabilizes mood swings. And, of course, peanut butter is another great comfort food. Just don’t go out of control.
If those 6 remedies aren’t enough for you, some other excellent ideas are practicing yoga or meditation, regular exercise, enjoying a hot bath, or even writing in a personal journal. Relieving yourself of stress will make your life a lot healthier and more enjoyable. If you are stressed out and are reaching for the tub of cookie dough ice cream, try one of the 6 aforementioned edibles instead. Take time for yourself, let your mind relax, and enjoy a bit of this crazy ride we call life.