Stress Relief

Relieve Stress Naturally

by Annie Wishard, Herbalist

Did you know that researchers estimate that 80% of all illness is related to stress?

I have always believed that stress creates an environment for illness. Stress is a reaction to an emotional, physical, or mental situation that is upsetting to the body’s natural balance.

Stress can be a result of pressure in the workplace, problems with friends and family, not having enough money to pay bills, or even getting ready for the holidays.  Some other conditions that can cause stress include pain, noise, driving in heavy traffic, bad weather conditions, or uncomfortable temperatures.  Important events, such as a birth, a new job, a wedding, a death, or a divorce, can also push you off balance.  Add lack of sleep, smoking, and drinking, and you have created a recipe for a feeling of helplessness.

Most of us have experienced many of these stresses.  Some of us handle it well, while others have a very negative reaction to stress.  Stress can cause fatigue, memory problems, breathing problems, heart palpitations, irritability, twitching, lowered sex drive, appetite changes, back pain, and gastrointestinal disorders.  Stress and its physical effects cannot be denied.  If you look in the mirror during a stressful moment, you’ll see a different person.  Stress ages us and lowers our resistance to disease.

We all know people who create stress when there is none.  This can cause all the same symptoms as noted above.  So whether stress is created or real, it is real to your body.  Long term stress is very serious.  Your body wears out through premature aging that is both internal and external.  The following recommendations won’t put more money in the bank or patch up a marriage, but they will help you handle stress with less damage.

For starters, try exercise of any kind.  Walking is great.  Yoga is great exercise and it will help you learn breathing techniques.  Deep and proper breathing can change the way you look and feel.  Aromatherapy is easy and wonderful.  You’ll smell good while you are destressing.  Add lavender oil to your bath or dab it on a handkerchief and carry it with you.  Keep a journal.  Get those worries out of your head and onto paper.    While you’re writing, list 5 good things in your life.  And for heaven sakes, sweet talk yourself.  Remember, you are what you put in your head and in your mouth.  Speaking of putting things in your mouth, here are some supplements I recommend to help the body cope with stress.  Dosages are intended as general guidelines.

GABA  (Gamma-aminobutyric acid);  500 to 750 mg twice daily . GABA is a tranquilizer and helps brain function.

B-Complex;  100 mg 3 times daily.  B-Vitamins are necessary for healthy nerve function.

Stress depletes the body of B and C vitamins.

Panthothenic Acid (B-5); 500 mg daily.  This is the anti-stress vitamin used by the thymus gland.

Sleep Tight plus Valerian;  2 to 4 at bedtime as a sleep aid.  This preparation is a Sweet Annie Herbal Formula with calming and relaxing herbs.

Calcium and Magnesium; 2000 mg of calcium & 1000 mg magnesium daily. Take at bedtime for best results.  This is a natural sedative.  These minerals are lost by the body during times of stress.

L5HTP  L-5-hydroxy Tryptophan; 100 mg twice a day.  This is a safe and effective way to increase serotonin levels in the brain.

When using herbs and supplements, remember to talk to your health care provider or pharmacist, as supplements can interact with medications or be contraindicated for certain conditions.  If it is safe for you to take supplements, be consistent and patient.  Good health takes time.

For additional suggestions you can call or stop in at Sweet Annie Herbs at 643-4802, 316 Washington St. in Huntingdon.  Have a happy, healthy holiday season!

The Huntingdon Health and Wellness Association makes no medical claims or recommendations.  Check with your doctor about your specific health care needs.  For more information on the Huntingdon Health and Wellness Association contact Jennifer Micija, President, at 814-667-2097 or