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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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Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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