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6 Herbal Remedies Guaranteed to Lower Stress Levels

6 Herbal Remedies Guaranteed to Lower Stress Levels

You know the saying “stop and smell the roses”? While you’re used to the saying’s symbolic context – that we should never let life pass us by – there are literal benefits to many of the flowers and herbs found in nature as well. The mere aroma of some flowers has been proven to reduce mental and physical stress, while others require ingestion of some form or another. Regardless, it seems that if you’re looking for new methods of relaxation, you might not have to look farther than your garden.

Cannabidiol Oil for Stress

Let’s get the controversial one out of the way first, shall we? The mere mention of cannabidiol oil can make a person perk up or cringe, depending on which side of the marijuana legalization fence they’re on. However, this just goes to show the general misunderstanding surrounding cannabis and hemp. Simply put, cannabidiol oil contains only trace amounts of THC, meaning you can’t “get high” from using it. However, it has been shown to alleviate signs of physical and mental stress and anxiety, among many other debilitating conditions. However, because it’s such a taboo topic, clinical studies on cannabidiol’s effectiveness are currently fairly scarce.

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Ginger for Anxiety

Ginger is one of the more ubiquitous herbs on this list. Not only can it be found in capsule form at your local health store, but it also is used in many different foods and drinks you may come across incidentally. Ginger has been proven to combat physical symptoms of anxiety, such as nausea and dizziness (remember when your mom used to give you warm ginger ale when you were home with a stomachache?). However, too much ginger can be dangerous if too much of it is consumed – especially for pregnant women or people taking blood-thinners. When in doubt, consult a doctor before ingesting ginger to alleviate stress.

Chamomile for Insomnia

Chamomile not only works well to alleviate symptoms of stress and anxiety, but it also helps cure insomnia, as well. The recommended usage of chamomile is as a tea, of which you can drink two to three cups on a daily basis. Of course, since it is usually used as a sleep aid, you’d want to drink chamomile tea in the hours leading up to bedtime. Like ginger, chamomile can also negatively affect those who are pregnant or taking blood thinning medication.

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Passion Flower for Nausea and Nerves

Like chamomile, passion flower has shown to reduce anxiety and insomnia. It also combats general unease and nervousness that manifest in the form of nausea. Passion flower comes in a variety of forms, from teas and juices to tinctures and capsules. Once again, pregnant woman should stay absolutely clear of passion flower, as it has been proven to cause contractions within the uterus.

St. John’s Wort for Restlessness

The use of St. John’s Wort is well-documented throughout history. Before the use of modern medicine became more…well, common, St. John’s Wort was used to treat mental disorders from mild anxiety to full-blown depression. In fact, it’s been shown to be more effective than Prozac when combating disorders revolving around depression. When combined with valerian root, St. John’s Wort can also help with restlessness and insomnia. However, St. John’s Wort has many contraindications, so take special care when using it.

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Lavender to Help Relax

I saved this one for last, because if you’re even remotely interested in herbal remedies you likely know all about lavender. Not only does lavender promote mental and physical relaxation, but it also balances your body’s hormones and stimulates the immune system. Lavender is best used as an essential oil (its aroma will definitely fill your house), but it also can be used as a tea. One thing to keep in mind is that lavender can cause hormonal problems in pre-pubescent males, so avoid using it if you have any young boys in your home. Otherwise, lavender can be incredibly effective in reducing anxiety, insomnia, and depression.

Featured photo credit: Chris Gin / Lavender / Flickr via farm8.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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