Hello House of Buckle Blog readers! The weather here in Arkansas has turned cold. The warm sunny days are gone, and winter is in full swing. My wife and I still get our long walks in together as fitness must be maintained year-round, but I have to admit, it’s always a little harder to do it when it’s frigid out. I’d much rather walk in in 90+ degree weather. I love the sunshine and heat. I mention the walks because regular fitness is important for numerous reasons including stress and anxiety relief, which is what I want to talk about in today’s blog!
People are stressed out…
I am a certified master herbalist and love to help people. As a result, I side hustle in a local health food store. I enjoy working in the supplements/herbs section of the store and helping people that come in looking for natural ways to better health. Speaking from experience, there is usually a steady flow of folks that come in looking for stress and anxiety support. Therefore I thought it would be a great time to look at some things you can do naturally for stress and anxiety relief.
Statistically speaking, anxiety is among the most common disorders in the United States today; there are an estimated 18% of adults affected annually. For the record, there is a difference between stress and anxiety, although it can be difficult to distinguish the one from the other. What’s the difference?
Stress is your body’s reaction to some sort of trigger in the short term. It can be positive: the stress of a tight deadline that causes you to rise like a champion and complete the project, for instance. It can also be negative, as in, the loss of sleep over that same tight deadline. In short, stress is your body’s response to perceived threats.
Anxiety, on the other hand, is a longer term, sustained mental health disorder. Stress will lower once the threat it gone (the project completed and turned in, your stress lowers). Anxiety, however, hangs around for a long time. As you can see, there is a difference in the two. For the purpose of this article however, I will refer to both stress and anxiety together as their general symptoms are very similar and so are the remedies.
10 Signs of stress and anxiety:
- Excessive worry
- Muscle tension
- Low energy/easily fatigued
- Frequent illness
- Poor concentration
- Shortness of breath, sweaty palms, rapid heartbeat
- Low sexual desire
What you can do:
Here are a few things you can do to help cope with stress:
- Exercise: This is one of the best ways to ease stress and anxiety. It is a proven fact that exercise produces feel-good chemicals in your brain. These chemicals produce the so-called “runner’s high”. Speaking from experience, I always feel refreshed and mentally rested after a workout. If you suffer from stress and anxiety, YOU NEED THIS!
- Nature: One suggestion is to unplug from daily life by taking a nature outing. Turn your phone off, close the laptop and head for the woods, mountains, local lake, park etc. In fact, you can kill two birds with one stone if you take a nice brisk walk or run outdoors.
- Your Diet: As always, when talking about treating things naturally, you must take a holistic approach; this includes looking at and tweaking your diet. A diet high in sugars, empty carbs, caffeine (think soda, diet soda, fruit juices, cookies, donuts, alcohol etc.) will only exacerbate stress and anxiety. Why? If you eat foods that spike blood sugar, you will experience a brief high, but then the inevitable crash that follows. Additionally, often, the empty calories leave us hungry quickly, this can product ‘hangry’ feelings that won’t help your stress and anxiety. Both sugar and artificial sweeteners, respectively, are linked to anxiety and depression. Alcohol can interfere with your sleep (not good if you already battle insomnia) and inflames the system. It is true, a little bit can calm the nerves, so dose here is very important. Processed foods (fried, processed meats, refined cereals, pastries, candy, high-fat dairy) can make you more anxious and depressed as well. The best diet to help with anxiety and stress (and depression) is one that you get plenty of water and is full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish.
- Herbs/Supplements: There are several herbs and supplements that can help with anxiety and stress. See below for my top 5
Top Five herbs/supplements for stress and anxiety:
- Ashwagandha: This herb is classified as an adaptogen (helps your body manage stress). It has been used for over 3,000 years to relieve stress, boost brain function, lower blood sugar levels and increase energy. I personally use this daily and can say it works very well for me.
- Kava: This member of the nightshade family (Ashwagandha is as well), is native to the south pacific islands. Studies have shown that it may help reduce stress, reduce pain sensations, aid in sleep and protect neurons from damage. It can do all of this and with zero dependency! Kava isn’t as popular as Ashwagandha in our health food store, but we do sell a lot of it and its fans rave about its affects.
- GABA: Short for Gamma-Aminobutric Acid), is a naturally occurring amino acid that works as a neurotransmitter. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter because it blocks or inhibits certain brain signals.
- Magnesium: I recently wrote a large article on magnesium. As indicated in that article, magnesium does a great many things for us and I recommend that you look into supplementing (look at glycinate, L threonate, or malate as these three are the most highly absorbable forms of magnesium). One of the things magnesium does is helps calm the nerves.
- Essential Oils: There are many essential oil options. I recommend either aroma therapy (diffusing essential oils in water) or applying essential oils topically (make sure the pure oils are mixed in a carrier oil!).
What about CBD?
CBD also works very well when taken internally for stress and anxiety support. As a result, I highly recommend it! I did not include it in the list above because I already spent an entire article on CBD and wanted to give some lessor known herbs a chance to shine. You can find my article on CBD here.
That’s all for today, folks. Thank you for taking the time to stop by the House of Buckle and as always, please feel free to reach out with questions! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a GREAT rest of your day and as always, remember, at Bucklebury, we believe your best wealth is your health! Until next time, have a great day!