Most people experience stress from time to time. The term ‘stress’ refers to the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change. There are many life demands that can cause stress, especially work, relationships and money problems. Traumatic life events also lead to stress.
Common physical effects of stress are headaches, muscle tension or pain, chest pain, fatigue, frequent urination, upset stomach and difficulty sleeping.
It also has a direct effect on your mood and behavior, leading to symptoms like anxiety, restlessness, lack of motivation, irritability, unnecessary anger, sadness, depression and social withdrawal.
Stress can be acute or chronic. Too much stress can contribute to high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, anxiety and depression, among other problems. It can even reduce one’s enjoyment of life in general.
Stress is an unavoidable part of life, but there are many easy ways to deal with it. By keeping a positive outlook, making some lifestyle changes, eating a healthy diet and using some simple home remedies, you can effectively manage stress.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for stress.
1. Slow and Deep Breathing
Slow and deep breathing can help you cool off in a stressful situation. With deep breathing, more oxygen enters the body, which has a calming effect on your mind and body. In fact, 15 to 30 minutes of slow, deep breathing daily can help prevent stress. It can even help you think more clearly, so that you can deal with stress more easily.
- When you are under stress, sit or lie down in a quiet, comfortable place.
- Close your eyes and take a deep breath through your nose to the count of 5.
- Hold your breath for 5 counts, then exhale for 5 counts.
- Repeat 5 or 6 more times or until you calm down and feel relaxed.
2. Epsom Salt
Epsom salt is another useful and effective remedy to help you calm down when you are under stress. Stress causes low magnesium levels in the body and increases adrenaline levels.
Epsom salt is high in magnesium, which helps increase the mood-elevating serotonin chemical in the brain. This in turn helps reduce stress, promote relaxation and ease anxiety, irritability, insomnia and abnormal heart rhythms.
- Add 1 cup of Epsom salt and a few drops of an aromatic essential oil of your choice to warm bathwater.
- Stir thoroughly, until the salt granules dissolve in the water.
- Soak in this soothing water for 20 minutes.
- You can enjoy this soothing bath 2 or 3 times a week.
3. Chamomile Tea
Chamomile is an effective herb for reducing stress. Its calming and soothing nature has a sedative effect on the central nervous system. It helps relax the muscles, ease anxiety and promote better sleep.
- You can drink up to 4 cups of chamomile tea a day to fight stress. To make the tea, add 2 teaspoons of dried chamomile to a cup of hot water. Cover and steep for 10 minutes. Strain, add raw honey as per taste and drink it.
- You can also add fresh chamomile flowers or a few drops of chamomile essential oil to warm bathwater for a nerve-soothing soak.
- You can even take this herb in supplement form. Consult your doctor for proper dosage.
Body massage also works as a stress reliever for many. According to traditional Chinese medicine, massage helps open blocked energy channels to reduce stress and improve overall health.
A warm oil massage of the feet, hands, back and head helps relax tense muscles, improve circulation and fight anxiety.
For a relaxing massage, you can use sesame, olive or coconut oil.
- Slightly warm the oil of your choice.
- Use the warm oil to massage your forehead, neck, shoulders, back and bottom of your feet.
- Then, take a warm bath.
- Massage your body daily or as needed to reduce stress.
Ashwagandha, also known as Indian ginseng or Withania somnifera, is an effective herb for stress.
A 2012 study published in the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine found that ashwagandha root is effective in reducing stress and anxiety in adults by lowering levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. It also improves resistance to stress, which in turn improves the quality of life.
In addition, ashwagandha strengthens the nervous system, boosts energy, fights fatigue and improves the quality of sleep.
This herb is readily available in the market in fresh root, dried root, powdered or supplement form. The recommended dose is 1 to 2 grams of the fresh or dried root boiled in 1 cup of milk or water, 3 times daily. If taking a supplement, consult your doctor first.
Note: Pregnant women and young children should not take this herb.
6. Holy Basil
Holy basil is another cherished Ayurvedic herb that works as a natural anti-stress agent. Being an adaptogenic herb, it enhances the body’s natural response to physical and emotional stress. Plus, it helps the body function properly during times of stress.
According to a 2006 study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, holy basil protects against chronic restraint stress-induced changes, through its central effect.
- Chew 10 to 12 fresh holy basil leaves twice daily.
- You can even drink a cup of basil tea to reduce stress. To make the tea, put 1 tablespoon of fresh basil leaves in a cup of boiling water. Cover and steep for 5 minutes. Strain, add some raw honey and sip the tea slowly.