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I found an early copy of my herbal notes that I had typed up and put on Pagan Forum a couple of years ago, and figured I’d go back and revise and expand them a bit for the blog.  Its a bit more than just herbal remedies and I hope you find them helpful! I’ll be posting a little bit every week for the next few weeks as I work through them.

NOTE:   None of this is to replace medical care.  If you think that you require professional medical care for any condition, get it.  (duh) 

The best treatment for anxiety, tension and stress is to identify and eliminate or reduce stressors and to identify negative coping patterns and replace them with positive coping strategies.

*Keep your body healthy with proper nutrition and exercise.
*Get proper sleep (sleep issues will be a future discussion!)
*Avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, sugar and refined foods.
*Nutritional supplements such as calcium (1,000 mg per day), magnesium (400 to 600 mg per day), and B complex vitamins (50 to 100 mg per day can help support the nervous system and minimize the effects of stress.
*A daily herbal decoction that includes oatstraw and nettle can bolster one’s moods and sort of smooth out the edges of tension and anxiety.
*Relaxation techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing, biofeedback, meditation, and self-hypnosis can be effective in relieving tension, stress and anxiety, as can exercise/meditation regimes such as yoga or tai chi.
*Surround yourself with people that make you feel good, and that you can help feel good in return (because knowing you helped someone is as great of a way to feel good as knowing you have people ready to help you). Build a support group for life, whether it be online or inperson.
*Turn off the news. Yes, we need to be informed…but not at the expense of our sanity.
*Develop a creative outlet–cooking, art, dance, poetry. Something that allows you to express yourself and let your thinking mind rest.

For those times when stress is unavoidable but manageable, consider the following:

*One 8 oz cup of chamomile or lavender or a chamomile and lavender combination tea can be taken to reduce anxiety, nervousness and tension. Especially if you drink it meditatively.
*Herbs useful for reducing anxiety and stress include passionflower, valerian, kava, as well as most of the mint family, including varieties such as catnip and lemon balm.
*Aromatherapy can be excellent for reducing anxiety and environmental stressors and promoting a relaxing environment.  Lavender is especially good for this.  Put some essential oil on a cotton ball in your room, burn a lavender candle or put a cup of lavender flowers in a muslin/cheese cloth bag and put in your bath water.
*Have an outlet. Everyone has stress. Everyone needs a shoulder now and again. Build relationships that allow you to have someone to lean on…and return the favor when they are in need. Yup, I know this is a repeat from up above–but its an important repeat that bears repeating over and over!!
*Other essential oils that are useful for promoting relaxation and relieving anxiety are bergamont, cypress, geranium, jasmine, lemon balm, neroli, rose, sandalwood, and ylang-ylang.
*Try utilizing controlled breathing patterns (such as inhale to a count or 4, hold for 4, out for 4) until tension subsides.
*Amethyst and Rose Quarts (IMO) are two of the best stones to use as a focus for stress relief meditations, if you are into crystals.
*Massage is a great stress reducer.  The following points can help relieve anxiety, tension and stress:

If you have a clinical anxiety disorder, or suspect that you do, see a medical professional. If you aren’t sure if you should seek professional assistance, consider if your anxiety is interfering in your life, as you would like to be living it…if yes, then you should seek assistance.  There are support groups and organizations that can help, if you feel that the people around you “just don’t get it” and your normal coping techniques are not being useful.  Consider charting your moods, so that you know when you may be headed for problems and in need of assistance.

Also, anxiety can be a cause AND a symptom of other, more serious, heath conditions.  If you are having unusual issues with anxiety that are not explained by life events, consider mentioning it to your physician.  On a personal note, the most obvious marker to indicate that I need to have my thyroid levels checked is an excess amount of anxiety out of the blue…I have never been wrong here, every time I’ve had to have my medication adjusted.

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