Heart palpitations, hot flashes, trembling hands, a surge of fear… anyone who has ever suffered from anxiety knows how truly miserable it can be. But many people also suffer from chronic nervous tension and stress, where you may not suddenly become overwhelmed with feelings of dread or panic, but you seem to be fighting off chronic muscle tension, headaches, negativity, feelings of low grade fear, anger or hopelessness constantly… this becomes draining on your energy levels and can lead to depression and impaired immunity.
This article of course is no substitute for speaking with your GP, therapist or other healthcare professional for advisal about a pharmaceutical approach to your condition, however, many people today prefer to maintain their own wellness by seeking out natural alternatives that help prevent, or holistically support them, to manage stress, anxiety or even mild depression they are feeling in a more empowered way.
There are numerous natural techniques & habits which can assist support your recovery to a happier, relaxed, more positive you and help control or reduce stress, tension and anxiety- you simply need to select those you feel an affinity for, make a commitment to yourself to take action, then integrate them into your daily life.
In fact this is the crucial point…don’t wait until the next time you are feeling excessively stressed, tense or overcome with worry, especially if you suffer physical panic attacks- the key is to make subtle changes to your everyday habits of living. Prevention is much better than cure, so make your selection from the following natural options to assist expel stress and tension from your nervous system. Do them regularly and you will begin to align with a more positive, relaxed version of yourself that was inside you all along, using nature to reinforce calm and your focus to maintain control.
- Manage your time more effectively. Even if this means getting out of bed half an hour earlier to give yourself a relaxed start to your day. Rushing from the moment you get up until the time you go to bed is simply asking for exhaustion in body and mind. People accept that this is just part of our modern day lives, but the truth is that rushing is killing us slowly. We are often trying to do too many things in one day. Have reasonable expectations of your output and don’t be afraid of asking others to pitch in instead of shouldering all the daily load.
- Eat more wholefoods to increase vitamin and mineral intake and reduce processed & sugary food. We are not talking about adopting the latest fad diet, but rather adjusting your life to accommodate healthier long term habits. What you eat (or don’t eat) does effect your mental resilience and positivity, not just physical wellbeing. When you are under pressure-both mentally or physically, your body uses up much more nutrients to cope, so you need to be more selective in what you put in your mouth. The trick is to slowly change eating habits. You don’t have to go ‘cold turkey’ off the things you feel you love to eat, focus first on accompanying some of those less healthy options with healthier foods. For instance eat your fish and chips once a week, but when you have them, take them home and serve up a lovely fresh tossed salad on the plate with them! Sugary processed foods will not be doing your state of mind any good either- there have been many studies which prove there is a direct correlation between elevated blood sugar levels (brought on by a high intake of high refined, processed foods) and a person’s tendency to be depressed, anxious or less resilient through stressful periods. For further reading check out article: “The Mind-Body Connection for Creating Health and Happiness”.
- Keep your body well hydrated. Muscular tension, joint pain, headaches and mild confusion are more likely to effect you when you are not drinking enough pure water. Don’t restrict yourself either, to only consuming traditional tea or coffee throughout your day. Herb teas are a perfect dual purpose beverage- they make lovely cold or hot drink refreshment in Summer or Winter, but unlike coffee, are infact just as hydrating as pure water, but with the added therapeutic benefits unique to the individual herbs used in each blend. They do not contain caffeine, but by harnessing certain herbal properties in a formula, they can have whichever effect you desire- whether that be a stimulant effect to help you focus and concentrate, or choose one for it’s relaxing/or sleep inducing qualities. For a formula which relaxes you, look for a blend with Chamomile or Passionflower in it, as they both have natural sedating qualities to help settle mind and body.
- Make time for exercise. Endorphins are released when we exert physical energy- so no matter how physically tired we feel after exercise, somehow mentally we feel more resilient and rejuvenated- it’s worth the effort! But choose something you enjoy, then it is easier to accommodate the time to ensure you commit to doing maintaining it as part of your routine. If you think you do not have time in your day currently, then re-arrange something in your schedule to do it. When I was working long hours in my last full time job, which was mostly based in an office, I would go for a 15-20 min. walk most lunch times- this helped to keep me sane! I was also known to take off for a 5 minute walk during some coffee breaks- this gave me much needed fresh air, time out and got my body moving to help dispel muscle tension from sitting in front of a computer.
- Learn and undertake some form of relaxation routine. This can be allocating yourself some alone time to go for a walk in a serene place in nature, or it might be starting your day with a 10 minute meditation or even just sitting down and thinking about all the things in your life you are grateful for this day. Consistent action is the key here. This should be considered a daily prevention technique to help you to manage the level of tension or anxiousness you feel, by reducing the physical tension in the body and mind before it escalates. You can try this Progressive Muscle Relaxation exercise right now if you like. Try to do it at least once a day.
It is a great way to become more aware of muscular tension you are holding in your body and assist you to consciously release such tension every day. Music can also be a powerful agent for inducing a relaxed state of mind. Download a few serene music tracks onto your mobile phone to help reduce the stress, tension and anxiety you may begin to feel, anytime of the day. Put some headphones on for a 5 minute break of music immersion.
- Use Natural Essential Oils and Magnesium products to reduce stress, tension and anxiety. You can use essential oils in a few different ways- pop a few drops of a relaxing blend in an oil burner or diffuser in the home or office. Take a bath at the end of the day with half a cup of high quality Magnesium Chloride flakes which will serve to remove the tension in your muscles and for extra relaxing oomph, put 6 drops of a stress-relief essential oil blend in as well. Or add essential oils of your choice to a carrier oil to massage your areas of greatest tension- this helps on a physical and emotional level, as massage can be a very nurturing experience. You can use natural aromatherapy perfumes for their therapeutic properties also, such as to help you sleep more soundly at night, or Magnesium Oil or Cream to rub directly into your skin and muscles to alleviate cramps, tension headaches, skin sensitivities and high blood pressure. You absorb Magnesium much faster through your skin in comparison to swallowing a tablet and if you are deficient in this master mineral which supports our entire nervous system, you will be less able to cope with your daily pressure and stressors.