We’ve got some excellent stress reduction tips here from Andy Weil, as well as David Edelberg’s combo of “three magic herbs” to get you back on track and into emotional and biophysical balance.  So read on, dear peeps! 

Andy Weil MD has this pretty comprehensive list of suggestions for managing stress on his website.

1.    Determine what is causing stress in your life. There may be particular situations, people or events that make you feel nervous, anxious or fearful.

2.    Keep a diary to record the events or situations that are stressful for you. Record your physical symptoms and emotions.

3.   Strengthen your support system and communicate with family and friends. Most people who are able to cope well with stress have strong social support networks with family, friends and even pets.

4.   Open up. Learn how to express your thoughts and feelings.

5.   Don't be afraid to say "no" when someone asks you to do something. Learn your limits. You can't do it all and you shouldn't feel guilty about it.

6.   Learn how to express your feelings appropriately by not insulting or hurting others. Say "I feel angry" instead of "you make me feel angry." This will help maintain and improve the important relationships in your life.

7.   Simplify your life. This means restructuring your priorities. Evaluate what activities are most important, and get rid of the ones that aren't. You will feel less worn out and more rested. You'll also have more free time to spend with family, friends or even to be by yourself.

8.   Recognize that drugs and alcohol are not effective methods to solve problems. If you feel that you are relying on drugs or alcohol to escape from your problems, seek the advice of a mental health counselor or community health service about special programs for stress management.

9.   Improve lifestyle habits. Increasing physical activity and eating healthily can do wonders for your ability to manage stress. Regular physical activity and a healthy diet can improve weight, energy levels, self-confidence, and overall health and well-being, making it much easier for you to handle daily stressors.

10.   Reduce stress at work. Seek out support from your Human Resources department or a sympathetic coworker or manager. Learn how to communicate your needs in a non-confrontational manner, such as giving suggestions on how to improve working conditions to help increase productivity.

11.   Laugh it off. Did you know that laughter is one of the most effective ways to reduce stress? No matter how bad things are, laughing dissolves tension and seems to help brighten the situation. Try not to take things too seriously - a negative mood only adds to your level of stress. Another plus - laughter seems to help boost the immune system, in turn making you less prone to developing colds and other infections.

12.   Take a media break or a news fast. Research has shown that the emotional content of the news can affect mood and aggravate sadness and depression.

13.   Try mind-body exercises such as imagery, breath work, meditation, yoga and biofeedback.

14.   Check your medications including over the counter medications - many can aggravate anxiety or depression.

15.   Eliminate caffeine and other stimulants from your diet.

16.   Increase intake of omega-3 fatty acids by eating oily fish or with supplements.

And David Edelberg MD, founder of American WholeHealth, suggests what he calls three magic herbs for stress. Here, in his own words, are his recommendations for reducing stress naturally, delivered on his e-news a few weeks ago (You can check out his other stress busters here).

  1. First, an adaptogen. This is any of several herbs that help your body adapt or cope with stress. Acting mainly to fortify your adrenal glands, adaptogens increase your resistance to emotional, physical, and environmental stressors. They stabilize everything. You can take your pick among Panax (Asian) ginseng, Eleutherococcus (Siberian ginseng), Ashwagandha, or Rhodiola. Try a combination like Adreset, or a pure herb like Recovery Tonic. If you’re feeling indecisive, rotate them, depending on what happens to be on sale.

  2. Add St. John’s wort, 450 mg twice a day, to raise your stress-buffering serotonin. The most frequent comment I hear from patients after a month of St. John’s wort is “All the stuff that made me anxious is still there. It just doesn’t bother me much any more.” Since St. John’s wort is essentially an herbal version of prescription antidepressants (such as Prozac, Zoloft, or Lexapro), don’t use it if you’re already taking one of these.

  3. Something to calm yourself. You can think more clearly when you’re calm. The herb kava is excellent, and nutriceuticals like Theanine and GABA will relax you without sedation. If you need a sleep aid, consider valerian or melatonin.

He says using these herbs can help get you back on track, and you can discontinue them when things settle down.  

OK, take care & be well,