Beat stress, the natural way!

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-By Gouri Godase

Naturopathy came into my life a year ago when I was down with high fever, which was diagnosed as glandular fever. After recovering from fever, on the seventh day I resumed my duties as a physiotherapist.

My work was quite tiring and I was working when I was supposed to take bed rest. As a result, I became totally bed ridden for around one month. I felt so tired that I could not even sit. My face looked pale with dark circles around my eyes. I was feeling very irritated. I visited a doctor who said, “It’s all in your head. You need to go to a psychologist.”

Then somebody suggested that I should visit a naturopath. I headed towards a naturopathy clinic as all other roads were closed for me and I wanted to become a healthy person for me and my family. There I was diagnosed as having chronic fatigue syndrome. I started taking medicines given by the naturopath and within one week there was tremendous improvement in my condition, and after fifteen days I started going to work.

Since then my lifestyle totally changed and I became a follower of naturopath. Here’s a summary of my experience and some dietary recommendations I followed during my recovery phase.

Include stress-free diet in your meal. Eating a healthy and regular diet is crucial to insulate your body from blood sugar fluctuations that can make symptoms worse. It is important to eat adequate amounts of proteins at every meal, such as nuts, soy, fish, white meats or eggs, or supplement with a good protein drink. Make sure you include lots of vegetables and fruits in your diet. While it might be tempting to increase consumption of coffee, sweets and alcohol during periods of high stress, this may actually result into worsening the situation.

To satisfy my sweet cravings, I substituted fruits with dry fruits. I also switched coffee with green tea. Although, green tea also contains some amount of caffeine, it also has an amino acid, l–theanine, that helps in decreasing anxiety, while increasing alpha brain waves that are linked with meditation and relaxation. Green tea also has many beneficial antioxidants, helpful in preventing and treating cancer. It also helps in detoxifying the body and losing weight. Drink it every day!

Go for stress-busting exercises. One of the best ways to reduce stress is through physical exercise. It helps in burning stress hormones that get accumulated during the period of high stress. Further, exercise also helps in curing depression. Various studies have, in fact, confirmed that regular exercise could be better than psychotherapy or anti-depressant drugs for depression. Some types of exercises that one may focus on include yoga, tai-chi, chi-kung or any similar type of martial art.

Along with exercises, I also included meditation in my daily routine. Just taking a few deep breaths once in a while during the course of the day instantly relaxed me.

Get adequate sleep to beat stress. You must follow a good sleeping pattern, especially during high stress periods. An important sleep hygiene technique one may follow to get a good night rest is not watching television, using computer or any other electronic device an hour before you go to sleep. Further, it may help in keeping the room dark and cool during night.

One may also try natural sleep aids available in the market. However, if you frequently wake up during the night, you may take magnesium before going to bed or take a chewable combo tablet such as a time-released melatonin.

Stay connected. Have a good talk with your family or friends, smile and laugh with them. This has a therapeutic effect that helps in beating stress on an everyday basis. However, in case of severe or prolonged case of stress, it is advisable to connect with a professional for therapy sessions.

What is the best way forward to safeguard from anxiety and stress? It is through self-care, balanced diet, regular exercise, proper sleep pattern, social support and right supplements that you can beat stress and lead a healthy life.

About the author: Gouri Godase is a physiotherapist, practitioning in Cessnock, New South Wales, Australia. She has more than 11 years of experience in working with reputed hospitals such as the Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai and other hospitals in Australia. She specialises in sports and spinal physiotherapy.

There are various natural remedies that could help you in coping up with stress. Some of them are listed below.

Ashwagandha

The herb has been used for centuries as a body tonic. However, in the recent times, it has also been used in various clinical trials. A tonic like ashwagandha helps your body adapt to stress by acting as an adaptogen, replaces your body’s vital reserves, and strengthens your body’s systems such as adrenals and nervous system.

Valerian

This herb is known for its remedial effect on insomnia. However, it is also used to provide relief to patients with mild anxiety. You should also keep a note that it takes about two to three weeks for the herb to work, and you shouldn’t use it for more than three months at a time.

Aromatherapy

You may add plant essential oils in your bath to relax yourself. Some commonly used essential oils for relieving tension and anxiety include jasmine, lavender, rose, sandalwood, geranium, etc.

Chamomile

It is used for treating anxiety, insomnia and nervous tensions. Being rich in magnesium, it soothes the nervous system and is also used as an anti-spasmodic. It is also helpful in treating migraine and period pain, along with curing digestive problems such as colic and nervous dyspepsia.

Siberian Ginseng

Also called Devil’s Shrub, it is traditionally being used to increase endurance. The herb is also used to increase memory, and act as an anti-inflammatory and immune stimulant. If you have high blood pressure, it is advisable to consult your doctor before taking this herb.

Disclaimer: The above are compilation of common herbs used to treat stress and anxiety. One needs to carefully analyse these before using these on a regular basis. Solely depending on the above remedial action might not be advisable. It may also be realised that the above may not be a part of formal cure as well.

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