Fact: Millions of people today are suffering with mental illness. This is true not just in the United States but all over the industrialized world people are relying on drugs to manage mental health issues. What if there was a better way to deal with stress, anxiety, and depression without all the bad side effects of drugs? The four ways I am going to be looking at today are:
- Emotional Freedom Techniques or EFT
Adaptogens are naturally grown herbs that do exactly as the name implies, they help your body and mind adapt to every situation that you may be facing. There are some that calm and soothe which would help with stress and anxiety and others that will stimulate and increase mental and physical performance which may help with depression.
They are organic, non-toxic, and naturally grown herbs that will regulate hormone imbalances caused by long-term stress. Do not underestimate the physical changes that take place from too much stress. It can adversely affect your immune, endocrine, and neurological systems.
There are many herbs and mushrooms that qualify as adptogens and have been used for thousands of years in other cultures as natural medicine. I will comment on a few of them that I have personally tried or am currently using and a few that I will be trying or using in the future.
Natural Remedies for Stress
- Ashwaganda – Also known as Withania somnifera or “strength of a stallion” it is a highly prized and traditional Ayervedic medicinal plant used for thousands of years in India. I started taking it to relieve both mental and physical stress and after two months now I notice a huge difference. It also increased my energy and helps me sleep better. I mix it with organic coconut or almond milk and heat in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Then stir in honey, cinnamon and a teaspoon of coconut oil. Be sure to add these after it has been warmed.
- Holy Basil – This is also known as Tulsi and is most generally taken as a tea. It has been used in India for thousands of years to reduce anxiety and stress among other things such as coughs and fever. It is called the Queen of herbs and referred to as “the incomparable one.”
- Licorice Root – It is most commonly used to treat gastrointestinal problems but licorice root also helps to manage stress by mildly stimulating the adrenal gland in order to promote more healthy levels of cortisol.
- Mucuna Pruriens – This herb has multiple benefits but the most significant ingredient is L-dopa, the main precursor to the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine is considered the feel good neurotransmitter in the brain.
- Lion’s Mane – This is a medicinal mushroom used in several Asian countries that can be consumed cooked, raw, or dried and steeped as a tea. Studies have shown it to boost mental functioning effectively helping older adults with some cognitive impairment. It has also been shown to reduce anxious and depressive behaviors.
- Rhodiola Rosea – Also known as “golden root” this herb like mucuna pruriens help stabilize dopamine in the brain. There are human studies showing it can reduce stress related fatigue and help decrease anxiety and depression.
Your unconscious/subconscious mind power can be unleashed by using meditation. Neuroscience has confirmed that your subconscious mind shapes your reality. It is so important for those struggling with too much stress, anxiety or depression in their lives to reprogram their subconscious minds and one of the best ways with absolutely no side effects is with meditation.
It is said that your subconscious is smarter than you might think. I am firm believer that mental issues are dealt with most effectively without all the side effects the chemical drugs our medical system pushes so easily on the vulnerable.
Meditation has to do with brainwaves.
- Beta brainwaves deal with our conscious mind and is unfortunately where we spend most of our time. We often think in the past or future tense and listen to a small critical voice of limiting beliefs.
- Alpha brainwaves are like a daydream state. This could be where you are in deep thought, imagining, intuitive and having creative thoughts. You can be very relaxed thinking of things you deeply desire or just letting your mind wonder as you might if you were driving a car for a long period.
- Theta brainwaves are a deeper state where you are drifting into sleep but may still be aware of your surroundings. You are in the “now,” in deep thought, stress free, possibly visualizing all of your life’s solutions. Dysfunctional emotional issues can be erased. Alpha and Theta brainwaves harness the power of the subconscious mind
- Delta brainwaves are the deepest and reach to the unconscious mind and to your highest self. This is where our immune system is activated and our whole body is rejuvenated.
Meditation quiets an anxious mind. It helps to relieve worries and fears. While adaptogens may help with the neurotransmitter dopamine, meditation will help with endorphins, another important neurotransmitter.
Your “brainwave pattern” can be changed from the more anxious beta brainwaves to the more happy and healthy states of alpha, theta and delta through consistent meditation. The results and benefits are so worth it
Most people are familiar with yoga which helps to bring the mind and body together through controlled breathing, stretching, meditation, and relaxation. Yoga brings about physical benefits as well as stress relief and mindfulness bringing forth a good mood and compassionate outlook.
It also brings the mind, body, and spirit into harmony so it is a three-pronged attack to just feel better about ourselves in general. Who doesn’t need that?
The only drawback I can see with yoga is that it does require a commitment of time. If you are committed to fit it into your schedule the benefits to your mental and physical health will be very rewarding.
To me yoga seems similar to the martial arts as you start out as a beginner and work yourself up through levels to becoming a master. I believe even as a beginner and combining it with meditation and adaptogens you will see a remarkable reduction of stress, anxiety and depression in your life.
Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT)
Research has shown that EFT improves many issues from depression and anxiety, headaches, as well as many other physical and emotional issues. EFT combines eastern acupressure with western psychotherapy and because of its high rate of success is being used more widely among medical practitioners everywhere.
Instead of using needles as in acupuncture you use your fingertips to tap on the energy meridians while talking about any specific problems you might be encountering in your life. Thereby it is becoming known as simply “Tapping” or the tapping solution.
EFT is definitely a way of self healing as even the certified EFT practitioners will tell you that they are only there to help you and the healing comes through yourself if you are open to receive it. Stress, pain, traumatic instances from the past can all be helped through proper and consistent tapping sessions. It can also be used for positive energy once you have eliminated the negative things or resistance that is holding you back.
While many doctors and Psychologists dismiss this practice with skepticism, there is growing scientific and undeniable evidence of Tapping’s success. Cortisol, the stress hormone, has been proven to be reduced through 30 to 60 minute sessions of tapping.
Tapping has only been around since 1980 so it is a relatively new phenomenon and there is bound to be skeptics. Roger Callahan started it with a process he called Thought Field Therapy but Gary Craig who was one of his students expounded on the theory in the 1990s and simplified and improved it into what we now call Emotional Freedom Technique.
Again the most important thing for me to stress. This is self-help and you have to be open to receive it as you are going through the process of tapping. Sometimes results are instant or very quick. Other times you have to work through issues and doing so may bring up other layers or issues you will need to work through or release as well.
I have tried it and still do my tapping and emotional freedom techniques. I am a firm believer in what works for me!
There is a much better way to deal with the mental issues we face daily such as anxiety, depression and a stressful life than an endless cycle of revolving pharmaceutical drugs and their harmful side effects. Worse than that is they just treat your symptoms and never really get to the root of the problem in order to heal your condition.
Mental issues are nothing to be ashamed of either. I just believe if we can find a natural and organic way to heal our body and mind it will be a permanent solution and a much healthier lifestyle from that point forward.
My advice is use all four ways to deal with your stress, depression, or anxiety.
Please feel free to leave your questions and comments below. Thank you.