OUR MENTAL HEALTH - ANXIETY & STRESS

October 11, 2020 Stephanie Montes

headache

Navigating the modern world is tough enough, but add in the first global pandemic to happen in the last hundred years, and you have yourself a recipe for full-blown, full-time anxiety. As most have traded offices for a cramped corner at home (the place we've built as a sanctuary), we're forced to work where we play, deeming it a separation-free zone. It's a situation only rivaled by those who've had to step in as both parent and teacher to homeschool their children with limited support. And it's not as if you can step out for an escape, which only enhances feelings of cabin fever none of us have experienced in the past. Doctor of acupuncture and Chinese medicine Dr. James H. Bae tells us, "in addition to anxiety, many suffer from depression, isolation, fear, shame or experience this challenging time of the pandemic as a form of trauma."

So what is this added stress doing to our bodies? While stress in short spurts is harmless, prolonged periods can have damaging effects on your mental, emotional, and physical health, manifesting in headaches, insomnia, muscle tension, high blood pressure, and more. Dr. Bae tells us chronic stress can also contribute to anxiety. "Anxiety is similar to stress in that there is a bodily response which involves certain parts of the brain that adapt to stressors, but also often includes fear and worry," he explains.

It's important to find ways to manage daily stress and anxiety as you observe the onset of physical symptoms. While we all have our own coping mechanisms, some can be healthier than others. Dr. Bae says, "in some cases, many can benefit from medications prescribed by their physician or psychiatrist for mental health." However, he adds, many choose alternative methods due to concerns for side effects of pharmaceuticals, or to address underlying causes." If you consider yourself the latter, here are four alternative treatments to keep stress and anxiety at bay.

accupuncture

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine in which thin needles are inserted into the skin at strategic points on your body to boost overall wellness, including stress management. Dr. Bae explains that it "can be a great option for mental and physical well-being because it treats the body and can address root causes of imbalance." He also adds it could be a cost-effective option with few side effects and is an option for the whole family. "I have treated infants, adolescents, adults and couples’’

Cupping

Cupping therapy is an ancient form of alternative medicine in which a therapist suctions special cups onto the skin for minutes at a time. We often tense our muscles when we're stressed — especially when hunched over a computer or buried in our phones — and that muscle tension can result in physical pain. If you experience stress-related aches, cupping may be helpful in treating the more physical manifestations like shoulder tension, muscle spasms, back pain, and more. However, it's important to keep in mind that the cups used in therapy will leave big bruises on your skin that can last anywhere from a few days to a couple weeks.

meditation

Meditation

Meditation can create a deep state of relaxation, focus your attention, and eliminate the stream of distractions crowding your mind that ultimately cause stress. The exercise can involve deep, calculated breaths, reciting a mantra, engaging in prayer, listening to meditative music, and more, and can be practiced in as little as five minutes per day. Findings published in JAMA Internal Medicine suggest that mindful meditation can help ease psychological stresses like anxiety, depression, and pain. It can take practice but keep in mind; there's no wrong way to meditate. The idea is to live in the present and not worry about past or future anxieties.

Crystal Healing

Crystals have been used since ancient times for their significant healing properties, and the energy that each gem contains can, indeed, help lift your mood in an instant. Part of the reason anxiety and stress can be so consuming is the downward spiral that comes with the constant worry and inescapable concern. Simply having a physical object that you create a sense of ritual around can help your mind focus on something else. If you're looking to switch up your energy from an anxious state, some crystals to invest in include amethyst, rose quartz, clear quartz, and black tourmaline, to name a few. Pair your favorite crystals with a skincare product infused with rose water (like Kat Burki's Super Nutrient Elixir) for the ultimate zen. 

stress and anxiety

Stress HeadacheNavigating the modern world is tough enough, but add in the first global pandemic to happen in the last hundred years, and you have yourself a recipe for full-blown, full-time anxiety. As most have traded offices for a cramped corner at home (the place we've built as a sanctuary), we're forced to work where we play, deeming it a separation-free zone. It's a situation only rivaled by those who've had to step in as both parent and teacher to homeschool their children with limited support. And it's not as if you can step out for an escape, which only enhances feelings of cabin fever none of us have experienced in the past. Doctor of acupuncture and Chinese medicine Dr. James H. Bae tells us, "in addition to anxiety, many suffer from depression, isolation, fear, shame or experience this challenging time of the pandemic as a form of trauma."

So what is this added stress doing to our bodies? While stress in short spurts is harmless, prolonged periods can have damaging effects on your mental, emotional, and physical health, manifesting in headaches, insomnia, muscle tension, high blood pressure, and more. Dr. Bae tells us chronic stress can also contribute to anxiety. "Anxiety is similar to stress in that there is a bodily response which involves certain parts of the brain that adapt to stressors, but also often includes fear and worry," he explains.

It's important to find ways to manage daily stress and anxiety as you observe the onset of physical symptoms. While we all have our own coping mechanisms, some can be healthier than others. Dr. Bae says, "in some cases, many can benefit from medications prescribed by their physician or psychiatrist for mental health." However, he adds, many choose alternative methods due to concerns for side effects of pharmaceuticals, or to address underlying causes." If you consider yourself the latter, here are four alternative treatments to keep stress and anxiety at bay.
Accupuncture
Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine in which thin needles are inserted into the skin at strategic points on your body to boost overall wellness, including stress management. Dr. Bae explains that it "can be a great option for mental and physical well-being because it treats the body and can address root causes of imbalance." He also adds it could be a cost-effective option with few side effects and is an option for the whole family. "I have treated infants, adolescents, adults and couples’’

Cupping

Cupping therapy is an ancient form of alternative medicine in which a therapist suctions special cups onto the skin for minutes at a time. We often tense our muscles when we're stressed — especially when hunched over a computer or buried in our phones — and that muscle tension can result in physical pain. If you experience stress-related aches, cupping may be helpful in treating the more physical manifestations like shoulder tension, muscle spasms, back pain, and more. However, it's important to keep in mind that the cups used in therapy will leave big bruises on your skin that can last anywhere from a few days to a couple weeks.
Meditation
Meditation

Meditation can create a deep state of relaxation, focus your attention, and eliminate the stream of distractions crowding your mind that ultimately cause stress. The exercise can involve deep, calculated breaths, reciting a mantra, engaging in prayer, listening to meditative music, and more, and can be practiced in as little as five minutes per day. Findings published in JAMA Internal Medicine suggest that mindful meditation can help ease psychological stresses like anxiety, depression, and pain. It can take practice but keep in mind; there's no wrong way to meditate. The idea is to live in the present and not worry about past or future anxieties.


Crystal Healing

Crystals have been used since ancient times for their significant healing properties, and the energy that each gem contains can, indeed, help lift your mood in an instant. Part of the reason anxiety and stress can be so consuming is the downward spiral that comes with the constant worry and inescapable concern. Simply having a physical object that you create a sense of ritual around can help your mind focus on something else. If you're looking to switch up your energy from an anxious state, some crystals to invest in include amethyst, rose quartz, clear quartz, and black tourmaline, to name a few. Pair your favorite crystals with a skincare product infused with rose water (like Kat Burki's Super Nutrient Elixir) for the ultimate zen. 

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