Ugh. Stress. You know the feeling: you spill your coveted cup of coffee just as you get to work, your sales pitch doesn’t go the way you planned, and the traffic home couldn’t be worse. We all experience stress from time to time, it’s a not-so-fun part of life. Or maybe it’s more than that, you recently lost a loved one or got laid off. Stress comes in many forms and can express itself in different ways. Often times we experience fatigue, moodiness, anxiety, or even find it hard to digest food properly. Stress can wreak physical havoc on our bodies. Stress tightens the muscles, increases heart rate, releases hormones that raise blood pressure, and contributes to inflammation. While we can’t control external factors that contribute to stress, we can do our best to help our body fight back. Here are the top 4 herbs to help you out:
Rhodiola – Rhodiola has been shown to improve mood and reduce anxiety. In addition, Rhodiola improves mental function and reduces fatigue. It has even been shown to increase endurance during exercise, something that sets the herb apart from commonly used anti-anxiety medications that often have sedative side effects.
Ashwagandha – This herb, which is part of the pepper family, stimulates the immune system to work against stress to promote both physical and psychological well-being. Another reason to choose Ashwagandha over a pharmaceutical mood booster; no well-known side effects.
Ginseng – Because Asian Ginseng is an adaptogenic herb, it may aid the body in regulating stress hormones. It is also believed to benefit the immune system, which stress can deplete. Another benefit of Ginseng is that it boosts the libido, naturally providing more energy and well-being.
Turmeric – Aside from tasting great, turmeric has been shown to improve depression. Packing a double punch; it also a relieves indigestion, beneficial for those who have stress-related stomach problems.
In addition to these great herbal remedies, there are numerous other ways to combat stress. First and foremost, exercise is a great way to release “feel good” endorphins. Aim for about 30 minutes of exercise a day, even getting outside and walking around the block can do wonders to clear the mind. Another great way to reduce stress is deep breathing exercises: Inhale deeply for 8 seconds, exhale for 8 seconds, and repeat for 5 minutes. Try playing some relaxing music and envision yourself somewhere you enjoy being. Don’t let stress take a toll on your body, be proactive and treat yourself to some “you” time. You deserve it!