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Natural Stress Relief: Strategies for a Calmer, Pain-Free Life

sleep stress

My dog's collar snapped open unexpectedly, and he lunged at the neighbor's dog.

My kids refused to eat the healthy dinner I found the recipe for, bought, and cooked for them.

Two people almost crashed into me while driving (2 separate occasions).  

Looking at my schedule for the next 2 days, I realized I'll have zero down time.

This is an example of the stress I felt just today.  And that's only some of it!  

The point is not that I'm upset about my life.  On the contrary, I'm quite happy, overall. 

The point is that stress is unavoidable.  

Can anything be done about it?  Actually, yes.  

You can't change the things that happen.  Well, you can be more careful, plan things better, etc.  But to simplify things, let's say you're dealt the cards you have, and you need to figure out how to manage them.  


The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is where your body experiences stress.  Things that make your heartrate increase, adrenaline pump, or after some time, your cortisol plummet.  

Certain trigger points indicate the status of your ANS.  If you tense up around your neck or hips, that means something.  If you hold tension in your solar plexus or chest, that may mean something like worry or sadness.  

When an acupuncturist checks those trigger points, it may feel weird, sore, tense, radiate, or make it hard to breathe.  

The acupuncture needles go into places that release those blockages.  

It's amazing how quick it works.  Lifelong insomnia, debilitating pain, headaches, and panic attacks start to transform.  The needles are like a reboot for your nervous system. 

Clear Your Mind

Meditation is like exercise or rest for your mind.  

It's easy to turn a problem into a monster.  We can allow it to chase us all night long.  

When you meditate, you focus your mind on something else like your breath, or the different layers of sound around you.  You start to be, instead of existing in a story you made up in your mind.  

A funny thing happens when you meditate - you figure things out without trying.  The ideas come to you. 

It's a letting go.  Or a coming to. 

It's yin, compared to the yang energy of constant striving and struggling.  We need the balance.

One of my favorite ways to get things off my mind is to journal.  I use for a daily writing practice.  Other times, I'll just grab a notepad and pen to jot down what I need or want to do. 

Getting things off your mind and into a physical form - digital or paper - simplifies things.  In your head it seems like 1,000,000 things, but when you write it down it's suddenly more realistic and less scary.  


To get out of your head, get into your body.  Every day - do something physical.  It doesn't have to be anything specific.  Just move - a neiborhood walk; some stretching or mobility work; a dance break. 15 minutes is all it takes to change your mind about how you feel.  

I like to do a "swamping" exercise (from Regena Tomashauer) where you move through your anger, sadness, and other stressful emotions using music. 

It's hard to think yourself happy without including your body in the process.  

Herbs & Minerals

Certain trace minerals are helpful for physical and mental relaxation.  The best sources of minerals are foods.  If you're not eating it, then take it in supplement form.  Or both.  

Protein-bound iodine found in seaweed, alfalfa, sea salt, and the herb ashwaganda is essential for thyroid functioning.  This form of iodine is calming, but also paradoxically helps with mental focus.  

Food-based magnesium found in all sorts of vegetables helps your muscles relax, including your heart and intestines.  If you have muscle cramps or heart palpitations, you can also use a topical magnesium gel.

Vitamin B6 assists your body in digestion and in down-regulating your nervous system for relaxation and sleep.  Good sources of B6 are liver, tuna, salmon, chicken, chickpeas, dark leafy greens, bananas, papaya, oranges, and cantaloupe.  

For a whole list of herbs that help with stress, download our free guide here.  

Get Help

Often, stress happens when we encounter something new that we don't know how to deal with ... yet.  Or when we're sick and tired of the same old situation.  In either case, it's a good time to seek out expert help. 

Counseling is an obvious choice, but there are a ton of other ideas too. 

I like to have my tarot cards read or seek the advice of an astrologer or empath.  I've read books that helped me navigate stressful situations at home and work.  Even listening to a good podcast can be enough to give you a new perspective on things and shift your mental outlook.  

After my divorce, I struggled with some parenting issues, so I took an online course to learn how to deal.  It was called Calm the Chaos - and it did.  

You don't need to struggle alone.  It's almost guaranteed that someone else has dealt with a similar situation before and can offer advice so you can navigate your way through too.  

What Not to Do for Stress

  • doom-scroll on social media 
  • complain all the time to your friends (connect with friends, yes, but don't turn the opportunity into a complaint-fest) 
  • expect other people to change 
  • nothing at all; just stay stuck in a rut
  • try to figure out everything on your own 
  • drink massive amounts of alcohol, etc. (at best it's a temporary fix) 


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