Certain foods and stimulants can trigger increased sense of anxiety, making us more prone to stress. Others have the effect of soothing the nervous system, or helping increase our body’s ability to adjust to stressful situations.
Here are a few tips on using nutrition, herbs and essential oils to manage stress:
- Use “nervine” herbs, which are soothing to the nervous system to encourage calm and relaxation. Examples are chamomile, valerian, lemon balm and oats.
- Use “adaptogens”, which condition the nervous system to deal with a broad range of stressors and quickly return to a state of balance once the stressor goes away, without robbing the body of vital energy. These include ashwagandha, tulsi (Holy Basil), shisandra Berry, eleuthero/Siberian Ginseng, rhodiola and passionflower.
- Amino acids L-Theanine and GABA can help relieve stress. Supplementation in therapeutic amount should be done under the supervision of a qualified health and wellness professional.
- Calcium has a soothing effect on the nervous system. Increase intake of calcium-rich food (e.g. leafy greens, bone broth) – especially during dinner to help you wind down.
- Reduce the use of stimulants such as caffeine. Explore coffee alternatives such as Yerba Mate, green tea, black tea, or Rooibos (African Red Bush) to avoid the caffeine jitter.
- Reduce the intake of sugar and other processed and refined foods. Those can cause blood sugar fluctuations, increasing the chances of developing mood swings and anxiety, making you more prone to stress.
- Lavender is universally regarded as one of the most powerful and versatile essential oils. Diffuse lavender essential oil at night for a calming aroma during sleep or add a few drops to epsom salts for a soothing bath.
- Frankincense essential oil has an earthy, balsamic aroma that is highly revered for its ability to increase feelings of spirituality and inner strength. Diffuse to enrich prayer, yoga or meditation for a deeper spiritual connection. Apply to your root chakra (tail bone) for emotional and spiritual grounding.
If you would like to know more about chakras and corresponding essential oils, you can download my Essential Chakra Chart here!