There is no question that we are living in a time of chaos. Strange politics, hate crimes, protests and more have us living on the edge. Alternative facts and social media posts designed to insight anxiety and stress using no verifiable facts have people confused and anxious. What can we do to take a break from it all?
Many types of teas are available to help you reduce your stress levels. The most surprising of all is that black tea is one of the best stress relievers.
Tea – (Camellia sinensis) is a calming herb in itself. A study done by University College London researchers discovered that participants who drank a black tea concoction four times a day had less cortisol (stress hormone) in their blood after a stressful event.
Green tea and white tea, from the Camellia sinensis, can also have calming effects.
Lemon Balm – a member of the mint family, used prior to valium as an antidepressant. It is a calming herb that can help in stressful times. It is great for times of heavy grief and loss.
Herbal Supplements for Stress
Herbal supplements are effective ways to combat stress. Make sure you do research into interactions and side effects prior to taking any supplements.
Lemon Balm – can be taken as a supplement. It has a calming effect without making you drowsy. WebMD does caution against using lemon balm with prescription sedatives.
Borage – is a very calming herb. Once known as the “happy herb” it was given to Roman soldiers when they were away from home for extended periods of time. Borage supports the adrenal glands, the source of our “fight or flight” hormones. Adrenal glands get overworked in times of stress. Borage interacts with drugs broken down by the liver and blood thinners.
Valerian – another calming herb used to treat insomnia. Its sedative actions make it less than ideal for use during working hours. Generally considered safe, the University of Maryland Medical Center has a list of precautions.
Meditation and Hypnosis
Hypnosis and meditation are two different things. Although at times they may appear to be the same, they are actually different.
Meditation – is generally meant to clear the mind and reduce stress. It can be done by concentrating on breathing, a word, an idea or simply on nothing. Experienced meditators create theta waves during meditation. This is a level of deep relaxation. Newer meditators tend to create alpha waves. These are waves of “wakeful rest.”
Hypnosis – takes you into your subconscious mind with theta brain waves. It is possible to get into this state through self-hypnosis with a little practice. Self hypnosis can have a powerful effect in a very short time frame.
Everywhere you look these days you will find adult coloring books. It seems like a strange trend but some of us never stopped coloring. The focus of coloring allows the mind to shut off the overwhelming feelings and focus on the moment.
Arts and Crafts
Any and all modes of artistic expression are beneficial in reducing stress.
Art therapy – uses a combination of creativity and focus to attain self expression and help relieve stress.
Cross Stitch Petite Point Embroidery – all require focus and attention. Focusing on the project and following a pattern allows you to stay in the moment.
Knitting and Crochet – both crafts require an attention to detail and focus. This keeps the mind from other thoughts and allows the stress relief of living in the moment. The repetitive stitches in many patterns allow the mind to slip into a meditative state.
What Else is There?
There are as many crafts as people can invent. As long as it has some repetition and focus it can be a great way to relieve stress. Fishermen claim that going fishing can add years to your life. Running and repetitive exercise can reduce stress. Pretty much any repetitive activity whether active or passive can be helpful in reducing stress.
There are entire lines of teas and supplements devoted to stress reduction.
Even knowledge can relieve stress by giving you much needed perspective on any situation.
Whatever you choose, reducing your stress and gaining focus is a healthy alternative to a stressful and chaotic world.