27 Home Remedies for Stress


©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Take a deep breath, and relax. Try various relaxation techniques to eliminate some of the stress you feel.

Stress. We all know what that's about, don't we? The traffic in your life is jamming up. Everything is fast-paced, high-pressured, loaded with responsibility. It's all stress, all the time.

In this article, we'll discuss 27 home remedies to alleviate stress -- ways to reduce and in some cases even eliminate it. With coping mechanisms and mild lifestyle changes, you can see a marked difference in your stress levels. But first, let's discuss what stress is and how it affects the body.

Some people thrive on that roller-coaster rhythm -- but others don't, and the stresses in their lives begin to take a toll, physically and mentally. The stresses alter body chemistry and affect immunity. You know that heart attack someone suffered because he was "all stressed out"? Stress changed his body chemistry; it contributed to a hormonal imbalance that increased the rate at which plaque was hardening his arteries, and it altered the production and distribution of his body fat. The result of his stress: heart attack. And that psoriasis she suffers? Stress caused her nerve cells to produce a chemical that stopped immune cells from fighting the red, itchy skin disease she's plagued with.

So, how's your stress level? If you answer yes to the following questions, then read on. You may benefit from some of the stress cures from the kitchen.

Stress on the job:


1. Are you overworked, underappreciated, or both?

2. Does it take everything you've got, physically, mentally, or both,


just to make it from 9 to 5?

Stress at home:


1. Do you have enough time for the fun things?

2. Do people expect more from you than you want to give?


3. Are there some important relationships that should be better?


4. Are there some changes you'd really like to make in yourself?

If you find yourself muttering "yes" to half of these, you're stressed. To what degree depends on your ability to cope with stress. But if you need a little stress relief, here it is.

Stress doesn't just arise from unpleasant, aggravating events. Positive happenings like getting married, starting a new job, being pregnant, or winning an election can also tense us up.

Stress isn't all bad, either. In fact, it protects us in many instances by priming the body to react quickly to adverse situations. This fight-or-flight response helped keep human beings alive when their environment demanded quick physical reactions in response to threats.

The problem in modern times is that our body's stress response is regularly triggered even though our lives are not in danger. Chronic exposure to stress hormones can damage the body.

Everything from headaches, upset stomach, skin rashes, hair loss, racing heartbeat, back pain, and muscle aches can be stress related. The perception of stress is highly individualized. What jangles your friend's nerves may not phase you in the least, and vice versa. In other words, what matters most is not what happens to you, but how you react to what happens to you.

There are many ways to manage stress. Try various stress-reduction tools and see what works best for you. What follows is a menu of practical techniques and home remedies you can choose from to help decrease the stress you experience and improve your coping mechanisms.

For more information on dealing with emotional troubles, check out the following sections:

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Home Remedy Treatments for Stress

Stress is an unavoidable part of life, but it's one that can be dealt with. Making minor lifestyle changes can have a huge effect on your daily stress levels. Try the home remedies below to help lower your general stress levels:

Get a support system. Spend time with friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, and others who understand you and can offer friendship, love, and support.

Work at achieving reasonable control over your life. You can't control everything around you, but if you can get a good handle on your job and relationships, you'll be better able to deal with stress. In fact, having little autonomy on the job is one of the factors that's been shown to lead to stress at work. If your job or a relationship leaves you feeling totally out of control despite your efforts, it may even be necessary to make a change.

Have a sense of purpose to your life. Waking up each morning with a good reason to get up and a sense of purpose is crucial to stress management. If you find yourself with too much time on your hands, doing some volunteer work may help.

Laugh a little. Humor helps keep problems in perspective, and the act of laughing actually causes chemical changes in your body that elevate your sense of well-being. If you need some help in that department, watch a funny movie or television program, go to a comedy club, read newspaper comics, or share some enjoyable memories with an old friend.

Work out your troubles. Aerobic exercise can do a lot for your body and mind. It can induce a sense of well-being and tone down the stress response. And you don't need to run a marathon, either; three 20-minute periods of exercise each week is enough. So take a break and get out there and walk, swim, bike, jog, dance, or aerobicize. Check with your doctor before starting any program if you're not a regular exerciser or if you have any significant health problems.

Opt for an unstimulating diet. Cut back on caffeine, a dietary stimulant that can make you feel anxious even when you aren't under stress. Who needs the extra jitters? Nicotine can do the same, so reduce or give up the cigarette habit.

Change the self-talks in your head. We all have silent conversations with ourselves every day, and they can have great power over our stress levels. Negative, tension-triggering thoughts -- What will the IRS do to me? How am I going to pay my medical bills? Will I get that promotion? -- aren't helpful. They paint us into a corner and offer us no choices. More positive, rational self-talks can inspire rather than depress. Irrational self-talks may be a long-standing habit with you, so try to modify them a little at a time. If you need help, consult a therapist.

Realize you can't control all stresses. There are some situations you can't control -- hurricanes, layoffs, and so on -- and a good way to reduce stress is to accept being out of control in such situations. Try to change what is in your control, and work at gracefully accepting what's not.

Take time out to relax. Spend at least 15 minutes each day doing something that relaxes you. Schedule the time in your calendar or planner if necessary, because it's just as important to your well-being as any other appointment.

Relaxation exercises that release muscle tension can help a lot. To do them, inhale and tighten a group of muscles, then exhale and relax them. Then proceed to the next muscle group and repeat. Start with your toes and slowly work your way up to your face.

Another option is visualization. Start out by picking a pleasant and relaxing place where you've been or maybe someplace you'd like to visit. Then picture yourself there, imagining not only how things would look but how your surroundings would smell, taste, and feel. Breathe slowly throughout, and play the scene in your mind for about five minutes.

Some people don't find these techniques relaxing. If you don't, take some time for yourself and figure out what soothes you. Other options you might want to try include gardening, crocheting, photography, painting, and listening to or making music.

Take charge of your finances. A shaky financial situation can create great strain, so do what you can to get your financial house in order. Work to reduce your credit-card debt and get some money in the bank. If you need help, talk with a financial advisor. Often, just taking those first few steps toward bringing your finances under control can really lower the stress level.

Don't try to have it all. Society pushes us to attain wealth, power, and all the trappings of success along with a great personal and family life. However, it's nearly impossible to succeed in every area. Decide what's most important to you and your peace of mind, then focus on that.

Get help if you have major stressful problems that you can't deal with. See a therapist, marriage counselor, psychologist, social worker, or clergy member who can help you sort through and begin to solve at least some of the problems that are stressing you.

Breathe deeply and slowly. Taking steady, slow abdominal breaths can help you cool off in a stressful situation so that you can think more clearly. Try this short breathing-relaxation technique: Breathe in to the count of five. Hold your breath for five counts, and then exhale for five counts. Repeat one more time. (Don't go much beyond that or race through the counts, however, because you could start hyperventilating.) Be patient. It may take some practice to get this down; smokers, in particular, may have trouble.

Don't take out your frustrations on the wrong person. For example, don't take out your work problems on your kids. Instead, clearly identify the problem, figure out some strategies to solve or minimize it, and then put them into action. Otherwise, you'll simply be compounding the stress you feel.

Still stressed? Several home remedies from the kitchen may help alleviate stress in your life, or at least calm its effects. In the next section, we'll discuss what common household items can help you feel calmer.

For more information on dealing with emotional troubles, check out the following sections:

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Natural Home Remedies for Stress

©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Celery's sedative effect can help calm stress.

To deal with your next bout of stress, just move into the kitchen. Many common cooking items can be used as home remedies to relieve stress and its negative effects. The following are some common household stress solutions.

the Refrigerator

Snack on celery. The phytonutrients called phthalides found in celery have a widely recognized sedative effect, so eat your celery, by the stalk or chopped into a salad.

Chew on cherries. They soothe the nervous system and relieve stress. Eat them fresh or any way you like them.

Dine on lettuce. This stress-reducing veggie has a sedative effect. A small amount of lacturcarium, a natural sedative, is found in the white, milky juice that oozes from the lettuce when the stalk is snapped.

Home Remedies from the Cupboard

Bathe in baking soda. A soothing bath in baking soda and ginger can relieve stress. Add 1/3 cup ginger and 1/3 cup baking soda to a tub of hot water and enjoy the soak.

Eat oats. Besides fighting off high cholesterol, oats produce a calming effect that fights off stress. Use them in bread recipes and desserts or for thickening in soups. Or just eat a bowl of oatmeal!

Dine on pasta. When you're faced with eating a late-night meal, choose pasta. It causes a rise in the brain chemical called serotonin, which has a calming effect on the body. Rice produces the same effect.

Soothe with salt. Try this muscle-soothing bath to wash that stress away. Mix 1/2 cup salt, 1 cup Epsom salts, and 2 cups baking soda. Add 1/2 cup of the mix to your bath water. Store the dry mix in a covered container, away from moisture.

Soak after some sesame oil. For a nice relaxation technique, warm a few ounces and rub it all over your body, from head to toe. Sunflower and corn oil work well, too. After your massage, take a long, hot soak in the tub.

Eat whole-wheat bread. It's high in the B vitamins, which sustain the nervous system. Other B-rich foods include whole-wheat pita bread, whole-grain cereal, pasta, and brown rice. For a good stress-fighting diet, about 60 percent of your daily calories should come from these starchy foods, divided among your meals.

Home Remedies from the Drawer

Build with a balloon. Red, blue, purple ... it's your choice. To make a stress ball, fill a small balloon with baking soda, tie off the opening, and simply squeeze your stress away.

the Spice Rack

Cook with cardamom seeds. These are said to freshen the breath, speed the digestion, and cheer the heart. But they also bust the stress. To make a tea, cover 2 to 3 pods with boiling water and steep for ten minutes. Cardamom pods can be added to a regular pot of tea, too, in order to derive the calming effect. Also, crush the pods and add to rice or lentils before cooking, or use in a vegetable stir-fry. If you like the taste, cardamom seeds are a good addition to cakes and biscuits. Instead of pods, you can use 1 teaspoon powdered cardamom, which is available in the spice section of the grocery store.

Pucker up for peppermint. Drink a cup of peppermint tea before bed to relieve tension and help you sleep. Chamomile, catnip, or vervain works well, too. Place 1 teaspoon of the dried leaf in a cup of boiling water. Sweeten with honey and sip before bed. To reap the fullest benefits, sipping this soothing tea should be the last thing you do before you tuck yourself in for the night. And during the day, if you don't have time for a cup of tea, try a peppermint candy. Read the label, though--one with peppermint, sugar, and little else is best. The more extra ingredients that go into the candy, the less the relaxing benefit.

Toast with tarragon tea. A tarragon tea calms the nervous system. Add 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon to 1 cup boiling water. Or use it fresh, snipped into salads or vegetables. It's a good seasoning for creamy soups, too, or added to a salad dressing of balsamic vinegar with a dash of honey.

With just a few simple home remedies, stress may not go away completely -- but it will be easier to deal with!

For more information on dealing with emotional troubles, check out the following sections:

David J. Hufford, Ph.D., is university professor and chair of the Medical Humanities Department at Pennsylvania State University's College of Medicine. He also is a professor in the departments of Neural and Behavioral Sciences and Family and Community Medicine. Dr. Hufford serves on the editorial boards of several journals, including Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine and Explore.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.