A few years ago, I realized I needed to change my lifestyle. This meant a dietary overhaul. It also included removing myself from a toxic situation.
For me, this was a necessity. I have a chronic nerve disease. It’s fueled by inflammation. So I need to avoid toxins in all forms. This includes chemicals, pesticides and genetically modified foods, and even individuals who don’t necessarily have your best interests at heart. (Excess stress can increase inflammation.)
I’ve learned from experience about boundaries. You need to set these with negative people. If someone’s behavior is very destructive, you may need to go no contact. This doesn’t mean not forgiving someone. But it does mean putting a healthy distance between yourself, and this particular dynamic.
Healthy Lifestyle Overhaul
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When my children were younger, I could barely walk. I developed an inflammatory nerve disease. Unless I did something quickly, I was pretty sure I was headed for a wheelchair.
Fortunately, I’m healthy again. I’m not cured. But my symptoms are under control. I can walk freely and lead a normal life. However, I can’t return to my old eating habits. Nor can I ignore stress-causing situations.
Since I didn’t want to be an invalid, I needed to do something drastic. This meant cutting inflammation-causing foods out of my diet. I also decided not to take prescription or OTC drugs. Instead, I take a natural herbal anti-inflammatory supplement called Zyflamend. This is a mix of 10 herbs. Zyflamend contains tulsi, an Indian herb that’s been used for centuries as a health tonic. (Although the name Zyflamend sounds like a drug, it’s a totally natural solution.)
Of course, I also need to stay calm. In addition to nerve inflammation, I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue. My holistic practitioner said this was caused by stress.
Essential Oils for Stress and Anxiety
I use essential oils for stress relief. In the last few years, I’ve grown my collection of aromatic oils, to the point where I can make various stress relief and relaxation recipes. If you don’t already own oils, the easiest way to try them is to buy a premixed stress relief synergy formula, so you only have to buy one bottle, to see if it works for you.
Plant Therapy is a company I trust. I’m a repeat customer, because I know this is an ethical company dedicated to quality control, and to making it easy for everyone to own essential oils. The Plant Therapy Worry Free Synergy Blend contains lavender, marjoram, ylang ylang, sandlewood, vanilla and chamomile oils.
12 Healthy Lifestyle Habits for Stress Relief
- Assess Your Relationships. One of the first things I did was to assess my relationships. There was a particular friendship that was causing me a lot of grief. My friendship with this woman was extremely destructive, not only for me, but for my husband and children as well. I had to say “goodbye” to the person I thought I knew. Then I had to deal with the deceit. Once I realized what was going on, and took clear steps to remove myself from that situation, life became very peaceful again.
- Learn to Forgive. Then, I had to work on forgiving this person. I won’t lie and say this was easy. But it was necessary. Holding on to anger is bad for your health. It can also turn you into bitter person. I didn’t want that to happen. Forgiveness came in steps. Eventually, I reached the point where I realize that God has filled my life with a much better plan. I no longer view it as if she took something from me. Instead, she pushed me in a better direction.
- Emotional Freedom Technique. Sometimes, this is called “tapping.” It simply involves tapping on certain meridians, in an effort to release negative emotions. I realize it sounds wacky. But it seems to work. Actually, for me, it worked so well that I rarely need to do it anymore. I practiced this for a stretch a few years ago, without saying some of the sillier affirmations. While I was tapping, I simply said, “Everything is going to be okay.” Tapping is something recommended by a number of alternative health experts, including Dr. Joseph Mercola, DO.
- Bach Flower Remedies. These gentle flower essences were created by a British medical doctor and homeopath in the early 1900’s. Dr. Edward Bach, MD was convinced that negative emotions can ruin our physical health. So he developed a line of 38 homeopathic remedies, designed to soothe our frazzled nerves. These offer a drug-free option for people who want to take the edge off, naturally. The most famous is Bach Rescue Remedy. This is a blend of five flower essences. It’s designed for sudden, unexpected bad news and trauma.
- Get Enough Exercise. This suggestion is almost too simple to mention. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it. The easiest way to get some exercise is to take a walk. (People with chronic health problems should discuss any new exercise regimen with a doctor, however.)
- Get a Pet. Research has actually shown that owning a pet comes with health benefits. Pets can help reduce our level of anxiety, lower our blood pressure and improve our immune response, according to the WebMD.
- Distract Yourself from the Problem. Again, this is one of those obvious suggestions I didn’t want to ignore. But doing something fun, with a good friend, is a great way to reduce stress.
- Put a Plant in Your Room. This suggestion might sound a little strange. But it’s one that’s backed by research. Various studies have found that indoor plants can help reduce blood pressure, and even increase productivity at work.
- Take Herbs for Stress. Herbal remedies have been used for centuries to help people feel better. They’re enjoying a revival today, as a growing number of people are searching for drug-free alternatives. (However, if you’re currently taking an anti-depressant medication, never suddenly stop taking it. Any medication changes must be done while working with your doctor.) There are a number of herbal stress relief blends on the market, which are available online.
- Play Soothing Music. It’s a well-known fact that listening to soothing music has a calming effect. So this might be one of the ways that works for you, to relax your frazzled nerves.
- Essential Oils for Stress. I use essential oils every day. During the day, while I’m working, I use them to help me focus. There are studies showing that certain aromatics can improve your memory. Also, there’s growing evidence that these plant-based extracts exert a positive pull on your emotions. I used to suffer from insomnia, a condition I developed as a young adult. Now, though, I can usually count on getting a good night’s sleep. I give all the credit to my essential oils, even though I realize I can’t prove this is the case, or promise they’ll relieve anyone else’s sleeplessness. However, there are some specific stress relief aromatic blends on the market, which contain the same kinds of oils I use to help me fall asleep.
- The Power of Prayer. Social scientists have documented the positive link between prayer and mental health. I’ve also noticed that when I pray, I immediately feel better. I’m also confident that God will help change whatever is causing me stress.
These statements have not been approved by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Women who are nursing or pregnant should not use essential oils or take herbal remedies unless directed to do so by a healthcare professional.