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Passion Flower: Natural Remedy For Insomnia And Stress

Passion Flower: Natural Remedy For Insomnia And Stress

Insomnia and stress are two of the most common problems we face in the developed world today. Insomnia can be a mere nuisance for some, but for others it can represent a chronic struggle against sleeplessness. It often goes hand-in-hand with stress, which over time can trigger anxiety, burnout, and even physical illness if allowed to go untreated. Stress and insomnia cause fatigue, difficulty in concentrating, and impair performance at work and school. They also lower immune functioning, which in turn increases vulnerability to all kinds of maladies from the common cold up to serious and chronic illnesses. In other words, if you’re stressed out and can’t sleep, you need to find a solution. The best approach for long-term success is to change whatever life situation is making you anxious or sleepless, but sometimes this isn’t possible and a short-term solution is needed.

Passion Flower – A Simple, Natural Remedy

Antidepressants and sleeping aids are available from medical practitioners on prescription. However, some medications can trigger dependency and come with unpleasant side effects. For example, antidepressants can suppress libido and lead to gastrointestinal problems. Therefore, it is unsurprising that people often turn to more natural remedies when suffering insomnia and stress.

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Over the centuries, numerous plant-based medicines have been used to treat nervous mood states and sleeplessness. Contemporary research suggests that these ancient ideas have merit. For instance, a study published in the ‘Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics’ demonstrated that 45 daily drops of passion flower extract had a similar anti-anxiety effect compared with a daily 30mg dose of a common anti-anxiety drug. These findings are exciting not only because they show that passion flower can be almost as effective as prescription anti-anxiety medication, but because compared with the drug, passion flower caused no significant side effects.

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How Exactly Does Passion Flower Work?

At the moment, there is no absolute agreement on how passion flower works to alleviate stress and anxiety. However, one possible explanation is that passion flower contains natural chemicals common to many plants – flavonoids and alkaloids – that help regulate the brain’s neurotransmitters. These chemicals are responsible for mood regulation, sleep regulation, and much more besides – in fact, all human functions are reliant on appropriate neurotransmitter functionality. Re-balancing them is key to regaining a normal, relaxed mood and normal sleep/wake cycle. According to the University of Maryland Medical Centre, passion flower increases levels of a neurotransmitter called GABA, which triggers feelings of relaxation.

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How To Use Passion Flower

Passion flower is safe for most people to use. However, if you have an existing medical condition or you are taking any kind of medication, check with a suitably-qualified professional first before taking supplements of any kind. This is because although passion flower is a completely natural product, it may interact with some medications. For example, passion flower may interact with sedatives, greatly increasing their effects. This could be dangerous if you are driving, operating machinery, or are in any other situation in which it would be hazardous for you to suddenly feel tired or sleepy. Passion flower may also interact with blood thinning medications, amongst others, so always check with your doctor first.

Passion flower is available in several forms. Always follow the instructions printed on the packaging, but the following are general guidelines from the University of Maryland Medical Centre. If you are taking passion flower as a tincture, use approximately 20 drops 3 times a day. If you would prefer to take it as a tea, you can brew a teaspoon of the dried herb in a cup of freshly-boiled water for a few minutes before drinking. Take 3 cups per day. If you are using passion flower with the intention of treating insomnia, take one cup just before going to bed.

Featured photo credit: muratart via shutterstock.com

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More by this author

Jay Hill

Jay writes about communication and happiness on Lifehack.

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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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