We are all familiar with the common, sometimes awkward exchange of, “How are you?” or “How’s it going?” with the often followed “Good. How are you?” But what if you’re slightly more original? What if you answer a little differently?
Chances are you’ll say busy, stressed or tired instead. Why is that?
It’s no secret that Americans are royally stressed out. Today, we are some of the most stressed, most busy and least-vacationed people on the planet.
Stress in America
According to a recent survey conducted by NPR a couple of years ago, 49 percent of those surveyed said they’d experienced a major stressful event in the past year. Think illness or death of a loved one, life transitions or big problems at work. Overall, the main causes of stress and anxiety were work troubles, financial issues or just having too much on their plate. The American Psychological Association reports the same findings.
Work and finance always comes out on top.
Effects of Stress on the Body
Stress is one of those things that can really mess with you. It’s like a pressure cooker. Even the smallest disruptions in our lives can start to feel like monstrosities and be extremely burdensome, both to our minds and our bodies.
According to the same NPR study, among people who had experienced a great deal of stress in the past year, sleeplessness was a number one concern. After that, people started to have major changes in their diet and activity levels.
Here are some other effects of stress you should be looking out for:
- Sleeping poorly or less than usual
- Eating less than usual
- Exercising or getting out less than usual
- Praying more than usual
- Eating more than usual
- Checking out to watch TV or play video games more than usual
- Using social media less than usual
What You Can Do About It:
Stress takes a serious toll on the body, and it doesn’t just go away on its own. In order to truly combat stress, you need to start looking at the bigger picture and make changes that support peace and health.
Talking to people who love you, asking for a hug, doing everything you can to get enough sleep and continuing to eat a healthy diet are great places to start. It’s also important to create pockets of calm where you can revel in peace and quiet and recharge a bit.
Creating Pockets of Calm with Tea
Stress hurts; it wears us out, makes us anxious and causes us to act differently than we normally might. When you’re really feeling frazzled, a hot cup of herbal tea can smooth out the edges and bring you to a better state.
Not only does tea have the great propensity to boost health, reduce inflammation and improve your immune system, it can also calm anxiety and improve your mood. Some sources suggest that herbal teas can even “outperform pharmaceuticals prescribed for stress and anxiety disorders.”
The very best varieties for stress management typically contain very high levels of bioactive compounds that come from roots, leaves and flowers from around the world—think adaptogens, flavonoids and antioxidants. These compounds support better sleep, reduce anxiety and boost energy. All great things!
Use these teas in combination with meditation and mindfulness and you’ll be well on your way to a better, more relaxed life.
The Best Teas to Calm the Effects of Stress
This may be the best known herb used to soothe anxiety and indigestion. It’s jam-packed with antioxidants and is naturally caffeine-free. Most researchers verify anti-inflammatory properties in the herb and many have also shown that it can manage anxiety disorder.
Valerian root. It may sound like a mythical substance from Game of Thrones, but its as real as can be. Valerian was used by the ancient Greeks and Chinese to promote a good night’s sleep, combat insomnia and alleviate stress and anxiety.
This herb is actually a member of the mint family and is able to deal with all things nerve-related. This makes a wonderful tea when used in combination with either chamomile or valerian root. Plus, it’s yummy! Note: Please talk to your doctor if you are currently taking medications for thyroid problems. They shouldn’t be used together in many cases.
While most see lavender as an aromatherapy treatment, it also makes a lovely tea when mixed with other herbs. On its own, this flower might come across more like bubble bath or perfume than something drinkable. I suggest combining it with lemon balm instead!
Yes, I said catnip. This isn’t just a treat for cats; in fact, just like chamomile, catnip tea can help people relax and sleep better. You can grow this very easily at home for fresh tea, straight off the branch.
There you have it: Five wonderful teas to help you calm the effects of stress on the body. What other teas do you like for stress relief? Let us know in the comments!
Originally published for Care2 at: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/using-tea-to-calm-the-effects-of-stress.html