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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Stressors? No Problem!

Sep 29, 2020 06:59PM ● By J Garnett
People get stressed. It is part of being human. Experiencing stress can be seen as far back as prehistoric times—maybe even the very beginning of human existence. Finding shelter, food and clothing are all basic needs. Imagine early mankind during a period when none of the necessities were readily available, and there was no aid to be found. Survival in general is stressful, and whether it was 5,000 years ago, hunting and gathering food, or in more modern times when a doctor gives a cancer diagnosis, stress has had the same effect on the human body throughout time, and if not handled properly, it can be life threatening.

According to the American Institute of Stress, anxiety caused by stress affects the human body in many different ways. It can affect every major system in the body. Increased blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, digestive tract problems, sleeping difficulties, irritability, headaches, the inability to concentrate and depression are just a few of the physiological responses brought on by stress. When someone experiences stress for long periods of time, risks for heart attacks, strokes, suicide and other major health issues are increased dramatically. Stress kills.

It is a part of everyday life, and although stressors are different now than during other points throughout history, it is an enemy to the body. Sitting in bumper to bumper traffic, being the tenth person in the checkout line when the cashier calls for a price check, that interview, the first date, monetary problems, work insecurity—all common stressors in modern times. For the last nine months, stress levels have soared for even the most even-keeled person out there. Being told what can and cannot be done, being distanced from friends and family, not knowing what to believe and basic fear of getting sick are all stressors that are affecting people worldwide.
There are different levels of stress. Some people even thrive with low levels. There can be a fine line separating high level stressors and lower level ones. What might cause high levels of stress for one person may not necessarily affect another person in the same way. Perception is key in determining what stressors are going to do to the person. It can be as easy as distinguishing between whether a situation is challenging or threatening. No matter the level of stress, it still causes harm to the body.
People realize that being stressed is unhealthy. Deep breathing, meditation, taking a walk or doing a cardio workout can all help, but how many people really do that? Some people who know all of the right things to do to fight stress still don’t do what needs to be done. Maybe it’s because they don’t live near a nice walking path, perhaps not knowing how to meditate, or busy schedules prevent someone from focusing and being in the moment and lowering stress levels. No matter the reasons for not practicing healthy ways to reduce stress, there are ways to do it without needing lots of time or effort, and they involve integrating plant medicine.
Plant medicine has an expansive arsenal of natural wholesome remedies when it comes to treating the effects that stress causes on the body. Mother Nature is medicine and can heal problems of the body, mind and spirit, all of which are affected by stress. Stressors will continue to arise, and the body will continue to react no matter the cause or severity of the stressors.
If time doesn’t allow for a long walk in the woods, a study conducted by the Department of Environmental Conservation has shown that just being in close proximity to a tree, or group of trees, for just 15 minutes can lessen most of the negative side effects of being under stress. In fact, the study also shows that just being outside in nature can lower stress levels. Sitting outside for a few minutes with a spot of tea can do wonders.
Herbal teas have been consumed for millennia because of the soothing effects they have on the human body. Any type of mint, chamomile, lavender and citrus teas can help fight the anxiousness caused by stress. Whether it’s the process of preparing a blend of specialty tea, smelling the aromatic steam coming from the cup or the natural ingredients that make it up, tea can calm the mind and the body. Drinking a cup of tea increases serotonin levels in the body, which brings on a calmness without the drowsiness. A cup of tea can ease muscle aches and tension headaches. Simply replacing an everyday beverage with a serving of tea can greatly improve the body’s reaction to stress.
Another gift from Mother Nature is the essence of flowers and herbs. Aromatherapy and essential oils are used to combat stress. The essence of a flower, or herb, is made up of the chemicals that produce the scent of the plant. When extracted and produced correctly, the essence is made into an essential oil. According to WebMD, when breathing in the essence of lavender, lemon, mint, cedarwood and bergamot, smell receptors in the nasal cavity are activated and can cause changes in the brain—particularly to the limbic system, which regulates emotion. Rubbing essential oils on the skin can have the same effect on the body. Oil diffusers emit the aroma throughout an area, and having actual flowers in close proximity can work as well. Breathing in the essence of a flower, whether it’s in an oil or the flower itself, can help the body calm down when it’s roused by stress.
Nature provides what’s needed to combat numerous ailments, diseases and conditions. Stress is just one of them. Sit quietly under or next to a tree, take a deep breath of nature’s many scents and aromas, sip a cup of tea and just be. Let Mother Nature kiss the wounds and make them all better.

J. Garnet, M.Ed. is a writer, teacher, speaker and healer. Garnet’s passion is helping the public see that nature is medicine. Connect at 520-437-8855 or [email protected].