By Christine Coe | Writer, Mother & Stress Wrangler
Does the very act of someone telling you to relax make your more stressed? I can’t say it stresses me out more but it definitely annoys me. But then again, stress is annoying so perhaps the two have a lot in common. According to the 2015 study by the American Psychology Association, 62% of American adults suffer from stress-induced chronic health problems. That’s outrageous. No wonder we need a whole month dedicated to bringing awareness to the topic. From insomnia to heart disease, stress can manifest in all sorts of ways. An article written by Popular Science magazine sates that 30% of U.S. adults say stress strongly impacts their physical health, while another 33% say it impacts their mental health. Most Americans seemed to be stressed out predominantly by money – a whooping 64% of us are worried about it in some shape or form. Following a close second is work stress. I can totally testify to that – in a previous life I was not a happy camper at my job and it seemed to compound my stress on a daily basis until I left. But no matter what the statistics say, we have all experienced the major role stress can play in our lives, one way or another.
Stress can cause all sorts of issues from muscle pain and fatigue to heart disease. So keeping it under control and combating daily stressors will help you stay ahead of it and keep you healthy and happy. Here are some of our favorite stress relievers inspired by Chinese Medicine:
- Tai Chi – this ancient Chinese tradition was originally developed for self-defense but has evolved into a beautiful form of exercise that is sometimes described as “meditation in motion”. Tai chi involves a series of gentle movements and postures that flow from one to another keeping the body in motion.
- Foot Massage – in China it is relatively common to have regular foot massage. Chinese medicine tells us that our feet connect to the earth and the energy of the earth circulates throughout our body. The feet conduct energy to our heart, liver and other organs so it’s very important to take good care of them. You can also go barefoot as this too helps open the body’s energy channels.
- Acupuncture – this practice is a great way to improve circulation in the body. It has been shown to be a solution to treat symptoms of stress like muscle aches and pains. Acupuncture opens up the meridian or energy channels of the body to relax the muscles.
- Meditation – In China, people meditate daily. Chinese doctors encourage meditation because it reduces stress and promotes health and well being. There are many different types of meditation such as Tai Chi, QiGong and Buddhist meditation.
- Valerian Root and Chrysanthemum Tea – Valerian root has been used for thousands of years in China to promote relaxation. Other cultures have also used it to alleviate stress and it is commonly used in many sleep aids found in grocery or drug stores. In Chinese Medicine it is most often used as a tea. If you’re interested in purchasing Valerian tea you can find it here at Walmart.com. Chrysanthemum tea is used on a daily basis to relax and maintain a healthy liver. You can purchase Chrysanthemum tea here.
So in honor of Stress Awareness Month, don’t let April slip by without trying a few of these methods to keep your stress at bay. Or if you have some great tips, please feel free to post them on our Facebook page! And remember, life’s too short – focus on enjoying it to the fullest and don’t sweat the small stuff!