At one point or another, stress affects everyone. And if you’re a working professional trying to balance your career and your personal life, you are even more likely to feel pressure and stress. Luckily, there are effective and natural measures you can take to ease the stress you’re experiencing.
Read on to uncover how complementary and alternative medicine can help relieve your stress!
What is Stress?
It's important to understand that stress is more than just an emotion, it is a physical response that travels throughout your entire body. Stress can be positive, enhancing performance, or it can be negative, detracting from performance and producing harmful physical responses if left unchecked. When you experience stress, you may notice your blood pressure rising, breathing becoming faster, muscles becoming tenser, and even a heightened state of alertness, which can prevent sleep.
Negative stress affects your body in a multitude of ways and can reveal itself both physically and mentally: Physically, stress can cause headaches, muscle tension, fatigue, and sleep problems. Mentally, stress can affect your thoughts, feelings and behavior, leading to irritability, lack of motivation and even depression.
Are you feeling stressed at work? If so, you’re not alone. According to the American Institute of Stress, 40 percent of professionals reported their job was moderately or extremely stressful. Since all humans are vulnerable and susceptible to stress, we should choose to react to stressful situations in healthy and sustainable ways. This brings us to the good news: There are natural ways of handling and coping with your feelings of stress!
For instance, methods such as acupuncture, massage therapy, aromatherapy, yoga and meditation can help alleviate stress.
Using Acupuncture to Combat Stress
What is acupuncture and how does it work?
Acupuncture can be defined as “a complementary medical practice that entails stimulating certain points on the body, most often with a needle penetrating the skin, to alleviate pain or to help treat various health conditions.” Acupuncturists insert tiny needle into strategic points on the body that lie along specific “meridians” or energy pathways stimulating the body to release endorphins, alleviating pain, stress and anxiety. Today more doctors, and even the FDA, are recommending acupuncture as an effective form of treatment. In addition to pain and depression, stress is among the most common reasons people seek acupuncture treatment. With few side effects, it’s a technique worth trying to moderate your mood and boost overall happiness.
Using Massage Therapy to Increase Happiness
Massage therapy, just as relaxing as acupuncture, relieves patients of pain and stress by manipulating the body's muscles and soft tissues. It is known to decrease heart rate and blood pressure.
By the way, you don’t need to spend lengthy amounts of time with a masseuse to experience the beneficial results of massage. Multiple controlled studies found that positive physiological and psychological changes occurred after just 10 to 15 minutes of massages.
Consider allotting time right after work for a quick massage. Think about how nice it would feel to return home after a long day at work, feeling relaxed and refreshed.
Using Aromatherapy to Create Balance
Aromatherapy uses naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance the health of one's body, mind and spirit. Inhaling the scent from the essences and absorbing them into your skin is believed to stimulate brain function and promote whole-body well-being.
In fact, hospitals, mental health, nursing and hospice facilities are accepting aromatherapy as a natural alternative to treating anxiety, depression and pain. If you would like to enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy during work hours, consider keeping a bottle of lavender or peppermint oil on your desk. Rubbing the oil directly on your temples throughout the day can help lessen the stress of daily work responsibilities.
Using Yoga to Breathe More Fully
Yoga is another excellent way to alleviate work stress.
Yoga trains you to breathe using your diaphragm and allows you to utilize your whole lung capacity, which gives you the opportunity to breathe more effectively. Next time you leave work feeling stressed, try a yoga class and see how you feel afterward!
Using Meditation to Center Yourself
Meditation is another technique that can be practiced to combat stress. Meditation can take no longer than 10 minutes, but its benefits are immense.
If you feel stressed at work, considering leaving the office for a few minutes to meditate. Whether you sit outside or in your car, take time to close your eyes focusing on the sensation of your breath. More than likely, you’ll return to the office feeling less stressed than when you left.
Here at NUHS, we’re dedicated to educating others on the power of complementary and alternative medicine.
When you feel stressed, it’s important to realize that with time and some proactive initiative, the feelings of stress will pass. Any of the natural remedies above can help you tackle stress—which hopefully will result in you feeling more relaxed throughout your work day and beyond!