HERBS FOR HEALTH MANAGEMENT

Herbs are a foundational root in medicine and health treatments, dating back thousands of years throughout every culture around the world. Modern Western herbalism comes from ancient Egypt. The Greeks developed a comprehensive philosophy of herbal medicine by 100 BCE and the Romans built upon it to create a variety of medical practices, some of which are still used today.

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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE IMPACTS PSYCHOLOGICAL HARDINESS

Psychological hardiness is an individual’s resistance to stress, anxiety and depression. It includes the ability to withstand grief and accept the loss of loved ones. Alternative medicine is a more popular term for health and wellness therapies that have typically not been part of conventional Western medical approaches but are often used along with conventional medicinal protocols.  Coping and dealing with stress in a positive manner play a major role in maintaining the balance needed for health and well-being.

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ALTERNATIVE REMEDIES FOR ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION

Interest in complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) is increasing as consumers and health care professionals search for additional ways to treat anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders. Some of these remedies include:

St. John’s Wort.  More than 30 studies show it to be effective for treatment of mild forms of depression,…

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Most importantly, rest. Restorative sleep is essential not only during unprecedented times such as a global pandemic but also during non-pandemic periods. Research shows most Americans would be happier and healthier if they could get 60 to 90 more minutes of sleep a night.(7)


If you are feeling stressed beyond what you can work on by yourself, reach out and get help from a professional. Asking for help does not make you weak; in fact, it makes you strong, as it will improve not only your quality of life but that of those around you as well.


 References:


  1. Mayo Clinic Staff. Exercise and Stress: Get Moving to Manage Stress.  August 18, 2020.
  2. Kamal Patel. Summary of Vitamin D.  January 7, 2021.
  3. Barbara Gordon, RDN, LD. Lifestyle and Managing Stress.   April 6, 2020.
  4. Kelly McGonigal. How to make stress your friend.   June 2013.
  5. “What Is Mindfulness?” The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley.   2021.
  6. Mayo Clinic Staff. “Mindfulness exercises”. Mayo Clinic Healthy Lifestyle Consumer Health Website.  2020.
  7. Various Authors. Stress and Sleep.  2013.    

STRATAGIES FOR STRESS

How we think about stress changes the way the body and brain react to stress. This is the stress mindset effect. One of the most popular TED talks of all time, entitled “How to Make Stress Your Friend” with Dr. Kelly McGonigal, discusses how optimistic mental perspectives regarding stress are scientifically proven to correlate with improved health outcomes.(4) According to McGonigal, an optimistic mindset around stress is shown to help people “rise to the challenge” and avoid harmful outcomes associated with stress such as burnout.


One strategy to improve the stress mindset effect is mindfulness through meditation. Mindfulness can enhance one’s mood and mental resilience regarding stress. It can also improve sleep quality. According to The Greater Good Science Center, mindfulness is maintaining a moment-to-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and the surrounding environment through a gentle, nurturing lens.(5) Mindfulness also involves acceptance, meaning we pay attention to passing thoughts and feelings without judging them. Use deep breathing, visualization and other mindfulness exercises to improve your stress mindset effect.(6)

In these unprecedented times where no emails are “finding us well” and all interactions are over Zoom, everyone could use strategies to destress. Here we break down some proven strategies for managing stress. Use one or more of these options daily to help you destress or manage a stressful moment more smoothly.


Exercise increases production of feel-good neurotransmitters known as endorphins.(1) These are the same compounds that are responsible for the “runner’s high” or the mental boost you get after exercise.


Soak up some time in nature to boost your mood. An added benefit to going outside is getting vitamin D from the sun, which increases immune health and wellbeing.(2) Nutrition is an important factor to consider for mitigating stress. Low levels of vitamin D are associated with stress.(3) Vitamin D is generated de novo in the skin with exposure to the sun. It can also be obtained from foods such as fatty fish or fortified dairy and soy products.


Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of antioxidants and fiber. Antioxidants promote health by protecting cells from damage.(3) Fiber-rich foods are important energy sources for healthy gut bacteria, which in turn are important for digestion as well as cognitive function and mood. The gastrointestinal tract plays an important role in mental health, more than you might imagine.