by Adam Tolliday


Life brings us stressors for sure. Some things, such as environmental and electromagnetic pollution, we really can’t control, at least not on a daily basis, but we can control other things. We can certainly learn to practice better self-care. Along with lifestyle changes, there are a number of natural approaches and remedies we can use to help with stress management.

  1. Lifestyle

We have control of what we eat and how much we exercise, dance, listen to music, spend time with loved ones, and spend time in nature. We can practice yoga, do tai chi or qi gong, and learn to meditate. We can learn how to do breath work and how to practice mindfulness. We can nurture ourselves as much as we nurture others.

  1. Nutrition

We can change our diet from the standard American diet to one that is more natural and nutritious. The healthiest diet is one of whole, fresh (unprocessed) foods, preferably organic. When using diet for how to reduce stress, we need to stay away from refined sugar, which contains no essential nutrients. In fact, it probably forces the body to use more of its nutrients. We also need to stay away from caffeine (coffee, tea, cola, and chocolate), which pushes us into the fight-or-flight mode. When we eat, we need to be relaxed. We certainly don’t need to be eating fast food on the run.

We can supplement our diets with vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and herbs for stress, if necessary. We get our energy from carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Some have more nutrients than others. We need forty to sixty nutrients to stay healthy. These include vitamins, minerals, amino acids (from proteins), enzymes, and essential fatty acid. We tend to use more nutrients when we are going through periods of stress, especially the B vitamins and calcium. The B vitamins affect our nervous systems, and calcium counteracts the lactic acid that is produced by tense muscles. We need enzymes to properly digest and utilize the nutrients in food and supplements.

Disease, stress, aging, petrochemicals, and processed food contribute to a lack of proper levels of enzymes. Drugs, household cleaners, cleansing solvents, microwave radiation, and high heat also can inhibit enzyme production.

 Natural Remedies for Self-Care

I am going to give examples of remedies for stress I use the most. Hopefully, these ways to reduce stress will pique your interest, and you then will research yourself and discuss options with your health practitioner. Keep in mind that these are just examples of many remedies that have been found to be effective. I recommend you use them in conjunction with your practitioner’s advice and treatments. They are not meant to replace any therapy or medications ordered by your physician.

  1. Homeopathy

Homeopathy is two hundred years old and is practiced around the world. This method of natural healing is designed to restore homeostasis and health to the body, mind, and spirit. This is the state in which self-healing happens. Homeopathic remedies are made from natural substances, such as plants, animals, and minerals. It works on a principle similar to that of vaccines, except it is done on an energy level. It’s called the Law of Similars.

Homeopathic philosophy is that a substance that creates a symptom, like a fever or pain in a healthy person, will cure a similar fever or pain in a person who is ill.

Homeopathic remedies are made by taking a tiny amount of the substance being used and diluting it. Alcohol is added as a preservative. The bottle is shaken a number of times, creating what I call an “energy inoculation.” The final form may be a tincture or pellets.

Homeopathic remedies are safe, but the system of diagnosing and treating may be complex. To find the best remedy, I recommend that you do your own research and see a natural health practitioner who has studied homeopathy and uses homeopathic remedies.

Here are some examples of remedies I use most for how to reduce stress-related problems:

+ Ignatia—anxiety
+ Natrem Muraticum—grief
+ Chamomilia—anxiety, especially with stomach symptoms or Lachesis—irritability
+ Sepia—tendency to argue
+ Pulsatilla—tearful (Chappell 1994)

 4.  Flower Essences

These remedies are natural and gentle. Prepared from the flowers of wild plants, bushes, or trees, they are prescribed according to one’s mood and state of mind. They are based on the theory that a mind in disharmony is the primary cause of disease and that it will hinder recovery from an illness. Emotions such as fear or worry can deplete an individual’s vitality, causing the body to lose its natural resistance to infection and disease.

The original flower essences were created by Dr. Edward Bach, a renowned English physician who developed a pharmacopeia of thirty-eight remedies to treat what he felt were the most common negative states of mind that affect humankind. He divided these negative states of mind into seven groups under the following headings: fear, uncertainty, insufficient interest in present circumstances, loneliness, oversensitivity to influences and ideas, despondency or despair, and overcare for the welfare of others.

Flower essences are available from many parts of the world. I primarily use the Bach flower essences, but I also use essences from North America and Australia. They are taken in tincture form under the tongue.

Here are the flower essences I use most for stress management:

+ Rescue Remedy—stress, trauma, shock
+ Star of Bethlehem—shock
+ Aspen—anxiety
+ Rock rose, mimulus, cherry plum, aspen, and red chestnut—fear
+ Sweet chestnut—mental anguish
+ Mustard, gentian, gorse, and wild rose—depression


By Dr. Bonnie McLean 

Dr McLean blends her background in traditional and holistic Western Medicine with Oriental Medicine and other ancient healing practices.  She has 55 years experience in the healing arts