As someone who runs their own complementary therapy business, I know what it’s like to feel stressed and anxious on occasion. Money worries, public speaking, daily administration tasks can leave me feeling fraught and unbalanced. But what if there were some natural solutions to help?
As a homeopathic practitioner, I often use homeopathic remedies to help me relieve symptoms of stress and obviously prescribe a fair few to my clients too! They’re a natural, safe and an effective form of relief for both emotional and physical stress and easy to take when needed.
Is stress bad for us?
Stress is a natural reaction to psychological and physical threats. In small doses, stress improves our performance under pressure, helps us stay focused, and protects us from exhaustion. Unfortunately, in today’s hectic, achievement-driven world, almost every individual experiences larger doses of stress several times per year. Many of us encounter regular stress-causing situations — negative and positive, large and small events — including job pressure, substantial life changes, promotions, financial hardships, daily hassles, deadlines, and grief over illness and death.
Constant stress causes our inner alarm system to remain turned on too long, and it becomes more and more difficult to shut if off. When not assessed and managed, stress can lead to serious illnesses such as heart disease or high blood pressure. It also takes a toll on the quality of our life, work, and relationships. Homeopathic medicines support your body’s need to calm down, relax, focus, and avoid agitation and exhaustion.
What is homeopathy and how might it help with stress?
Homeopathy is a form of complementary medicine that works with our natural healing process and has been successfully used for over 200 years. The word comes from Greek and means ‘similar suffering’. This refers to the central philosophy that a substance that can produce symptoms in a healthy person can heal those symptoms in a sick person. For example a person suffering from hayfever might be given the remedy Allium Cepa (prepared from an onion), because a healthy person chopping an onion usually experiences watering eyes and irritation. The substances are given in minute doses prepared in a special way to avoid unwanted side effects, making them safe to use for all ages.
Homeopathy focuses on the cause of your health problem rather than just treating the symptoms so it’s best to see a qualified homeopath for the most individualised treatment.
Is there any evidence that homeopathy can help with stress and anxiety?
A randomised controlled (but not blinded) trial with 60 subjects was conducted in France with patients suffering from stress and anxiety in which half were given a homeopathic formula marketed as .L.72.2 in France and .Anti-anxiety. in the USA, while the control group was given a diazepam (Valium) (Heulluy, 1985). “The results indicated that L72 was as effective as diazepam on all measures.”
Remedies to try
Here I have listed some common remedies for stress relief and anxiety and the ‘symptom picture’ of each remedy. With homeopathic remedies the aim is to match your symptoms to the remedy as closely as possible. As I’m only listing a few below, it’s possible that you might not fit any of the remedies suggested so you would benefit from a more in depth consultation with a qualified homeopath.
Most remedies can be purchased off the shelf from larger pharmacies such as Boots. Some need to be ordered from a homeopathic pharmacy. Nelsons, Ainsworths and Helios are all based in London and offer mail order services. It’s advisable to start with a 30c potency and take every hour or so when the feelings of stress are at their peak.
Ideal for treating anxiety, caused by the anticipation of a big event, such as an exam, party or public speaking event. Dizziness and diarrhea may also be experienced, especially in the morning. People who need this remedy are often enthusiastic and suggestible, with a tendency towards being quite impulsive. They often crave sweets which usually make their symptoms worse.
When a dull, heavy, but restless, weariness dominates you, think of Gelsemium. A dose before an exam or interview can keep your mind from drawing a blank. Heavy fatigue with muscular weakness means it’s great for flu, restless colds, diarrhea and dull, pressing headaches. This can be a very steadying remedy, especially to quiet, often low-spirited people who dread public speaking.
This remedy’s reputation is based on its ability to treat modern day complaints of indigestion, intoxication, and stress. Nux Vomica acts to neutralize both the effect of stress on the mind, and excess intake of food, alcohol and drugs on the digestive system. Nux Vomica offers comfort when travel, hangovers, busy schedules, overwork, or late night meals cause digestive and mental distress. Ideal if you’re a ‘workaholic’ who is easily irritable and tired.
Ideal for nerves and indecision and especially good if you worry a lot and battle with self-confidence (too much and too little!). Digestively, it applies to acidity, gas, bloating, colic and constipation. There may be a fear of change, irritability, obstinacy, stage fright and exam nerves.
Other quick methods to help relieve stress
- Regular exercise. Physical activity is a great way to let off some steam. Exercise releases endorphins, our natural ‘feel good’ hormones, which boost energy levels and counteract stress hormones, such as cortisol.
- Take a short 10-15 minute break every few hours to rest and recuperate. Or go for a short walk to get some fresh air.
- Learn to say no! Set yourself realistic expectations and learn how to say “no” when your workload or social and family commitments get too much.
- Learn to switch off. Leaving the office for the day? Then it’s time to switch off your work brain as well as your mobile phone. Unless you need to be on call for work, there’s rarely anything that can’t be solved the next day with renewed perspective.
- Breathe! When we’re stressed, we tend to shallow breathe. Try to take deeper breaths into your diaphragm.
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Until next time, have a happy, healthy week!