Chronic stress doesn’t always have a simple solution. It doesn’t usually have a single cause. There is no doubt, however, that a sense of powerlessness lies at the center of that emotional cyclone. Whether the stress is due to financial concerns, a job you hate, a relationship doomed to fail, an imminent or recent loss, or any number of issues, if you could have changed it, you would have changed it. You either can’t, or at least you can’t see how to change it right now, so you worry and fret and cry and shake your fist at the universe or you suffer quietly while stress eats you alive.
There are a number of things you should never do to deal with stress and there are a number of things you can do that will help get you through to the other side.
What Should You Avoid When You Are Dealing With Stress
Too often our “go to” coping mechanisms are short term solutions that may make us feel better for the moment but are guaranteed to make us feel worse in the long run. You know what they are:
- Junk food
Have any of these ever actually helped? Aren’t all of these coping methods a form of self abuse?
When stress is overwhelming, it is time to take exceptional care of our bodies and our psyches, not add to physical and mental stress.
What You Should Do To Deal With Stress
When it comes to dealing with stress, mindset is everything. We can always count on life to throw challenges at us. How we deal with them is the key. My favorite analogy is a wave. You can stand at the shore and get bowled over by the force of it, or you can learn to ride the wave. The choice is yours.
Life will never be fair or just. Your job is to be the best version of you, that you can be, regardless of the circumstances. Part of that process is knowing that most of the things in your life are in your control. Most of the things that happen to us, are due to our choices. Those that aren’t –well, those are the times when all we can do is control our reaction.
When your mind is swirling with the problems at hand, write them down. Start a journal. Use pros and cons lists to problem solve, when you can. If nothing else, getting it down on paper helps you to stop reliving and rehearsing–churning the events around and around.
Create a “to do” list. Divide it into short, fast tasks and long tasks. Now prioritize. Start with the short list and accomplish something.
Sleep. Schedule a solid eight hours a night for sleep. If you are suffering from insomnia, see the link below. (And keep your journal beside your bed to write down anything that is occupying your mind when you try to sleep).
Breathe properly, and deeply. Meditate. Take up yoga or Tai Chi.
Exercise. At the very least, walk, dance, use a rebounder, or jump rope–just move each day.
Do something for yourself each and every day. Many of us, especially if we are parents, have forgotten that we have needs, too. Find a small thing (or a big one!) to do for yourself each day. A bubble bath, a massage, a nature trail–whatever feeds your soul.
A Healthy Diet
Stress takes its toll on the body. Your adrenals are overworked and likely exhausted. You are at high risk for illness because your immune system is probably not working at its best. This is the time to eat the best possible diet. Avoid all processed foods. Do not eat anything with artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, MSG, GMOs, or trans fats. Make fresh, raw, organic produce the mainstay of your diet–more vegetables than fruit. All meat should be organic. Remember to add healthy fats to your diet. Avoid conventional dairy and gluten. And don’t eat sugar!
Supplements and Herbs to Help You Deal With Stress
The following supplements will help you feel more relaxed, help you avoid illness, and help you sleep:
- Vitamin B complex
- Calcium Magnesium
- Vitamin C and D
- Omega 3s
- Melatonin and Valerian Root (if insomnia is a problem)
- Shillington’s Nerve Sedative Formula and Brain Tonic
While a few of the B vitamins are regularly recommended for stress, it is always best to take B vitamins in a B complex form, as B vitamins work together. Research has also shown that taking one B vitamin alone over time can actually cause deficiencies in other B vitamins. B vitamins are nature’s valium. They soothe the nervous system and aid in many functions in the body and brain. They may also help you sleep. On the other hand, when dealing with stress, a little extra B-5 can be a big help. There are some complex B supplements that add extra of one or two B vitamins depending on what the formula is designed to do.
L- tryptophan is an amino acid our body needs in order to make serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin is the basic “feel good” neurotransmitter, whereas melatonin is needed for sleep.
Calcium and magnesium work together. Magnesium is calming to the body. You can take it as a supplement, or soak for 40 minutes in epsom salts.
In times of great stress, the immune system is often suppressed. Vitamin C and D aid the immune system and may keep you from catching a virus at an already difficult time.
Times of high stress are a good time to ensure all of your nutritional needs are met. A daily multi-vitamin and/or Total Nutrition Formula will aid you get all the nutrients your body requires. See how to make your own Total Nutrition Formula in the “Further Reading” section below.
Melatonin and Valerian Root
If L-tryptophan and B vitamins have not reversed your insomnia, add melatonin and valerian root to your nightly routine.
This is a tincture that contains the following: valerian rhizome, hops flowers, passion flowers, lobelia, black cohosh root, blue cohosh root, wild yam root, and skullcap.
This is a tincture that contains the following: organic and wildcrafted gingko biloba, gota kola, kola nut, calamus, and rosemary.
A healthy diet and exercise is enough for most of what life throws at us. For those with compromised health and for those dealing with very difficult situations, we highly recommend a combination of B vitamins and a fat supplement (they work hand in hand), L- tryptophan, Shillington’s Nerve Sedative Formula, and his Brain Tonic. No pharmaceutical chemical cocktail can even come close.
Here are Shillington’s recipes:
- 2 – parts Valerian Root
- 2 – parts Lobelia Seed Pods
- 2 – parts Passion Flower
- 1 – part Hops Flowers
- 1 – part Black Cohosh
- 1 – part Blue Cohosh
- 1 – part Skullcap
- 1 – part Wild Yam
- 15 – parts Gingko Leaf
- 1 – part Gotu Kola Herb
- 1 – part Calamus Root
- 1 – part Rosemary Flowers
- 1 – part Cayenne Pepper
- Optional:- 1 part Kola Nut
Parts are by volume. Blend all ingredients together and make into a tincture using a 50 – 50 Blend of Alcohol (100 proof vodka) and distilled water. For more, see How to Make a Tincture.
While not much focus was put on it, breathing properly is actually the most significant thing most people can do to alleviate stress. Life is all about focus and perception, and opening up your lungs to take in deep soothing breaths and getting your body well oxygenated changes one’s perspective. If you take nothing away from this article, get a B vitamin complex, the Nerve Sedative formula, exercise, and learn How to Breathe.
- Stress B Complex – Thorne Research
- Adrenal Cortex – Thorne Research
- Shillington’s Brain Tonic
- Shillington’s Nerve Sedative Formula
- Ashwagandha Root – Gaia Herbs
- American Ginseng – Gaia Herbs
- Astralagus Root – Gaia Herbs
- Adrenal Health – Gaia Herbs
- Mental Health, Physical Health & B Vitamins – Nature’s Valium
- Thyroid Disease Epidemic – How is Yours Doing?
- Total Nutrition – Make your own Homemade Multivitamin and Mineral Formula
- I’m Depressed
- Natural Remedies for Depression
- How to Breathe
- Yoga – A Beginner’s Guide
- Natural Remedies for Anxiety
- Natural Remedies for Adrenal Fatigue
- How to Be Happy
- Desk Jockey Yoga
- Supplements That Fight Stress – The Dr. Oz Show
- Better Brain Chemistry with Tryptophan – Life Extension Magazine