Treatments for stress

This article, ‘Stress’, was originally published in the ‘Healthy Living’ column of enVoyage, The Inflight Magazine of Eva Air.


Life can be pretty demanding sometimes. Work pressures, family hassles, money worries, health issues, and relationship difficulties are things many of us encounter daily that can lead to stress.

And then there are those hugely stressful life events the universe throws at us from time to time, such as moving house, exams, the birth of a baby, divorce, unemployment and bereavement.

Stress may be an unavoidable aspect of modern-day living, but you can learn to cope with it in healthier ways.

Symptoms of Stress

Excessive smoking, drinking and eating are common responses to stressful situations, which place even more strain on the body.

Symptoms of stress include worry, irritability, difficulty sleeping, low self-esteem, poor concentration, headaches, excessive sweating, palpitations, muscle aches and pains and digestive problems.

Prolonged stress can lead to more serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, stomach ulcers, anxiety, and depression. Stress also weakens the immune system, making you more vulnerable to infections.

Treatments for Stress

Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help if you are struggling to cope with stress.

Your doctor is no stranger to patients with stress-related symptoms, and he or she may recommend counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy, anger management, or a stress support group as treatment for acute stress.

Medication is an option for stress-related health problems such as depression, anxiety and high blood pressure.

Helpful Lifestyle Changes

There are a several lifestyle changes you can make to reduce the effect of stress on your physical and mental health.

To start with, quit smoking and limit your alcohol and caffeine intake. Although these substances appear to give you some short-term relief from stress, they are harmful to your health and won’t solve the cause of the problem; in fact, they can make stress worse.

Processed foods and sugary drinks will make you feel more tired and irritable. Eat healthy meals to improve your energy levels, which will in turn enable you to cope with stressful situations more efficiently.

Regular exercise reduces anxiety and releases serotonin, a mood-enhancing chemical that makes you feel happier and improves your sense of general well-being.

Alternative Therapies

Alternative therapies for managing stress can be very helpful.

The herb valerian, sold as a dietary supplement, is used to treat anxiety, stress and insomnia. Try taking 150 mg two to three times daily.

Homeopathic remedies for treating stress include aconite, arsenicum, and phosphorous, which may be taken hourly until relief is obtained.

Calming essential oils such as frankincense, neroli and lavender are particularly good for stress relief. Add a few drops to bathwater or place a few drops on a tissue and sniff regularly throughout the day.

Acupuncture and reflexology are other treatments claimed to be useful for alleviating symptoms of stress.

Take Time to Relax

Learning how to relax is the key to managing stress in your day-to-day life.

You may find it difficult to wind down if you are stressed, but perseverance pays off and you will get better at relaxation with practice.

Take time out each day to do something for yourself that you enjoy, such as soaking in a nice warm bath, listening to your favourite music, reading a book, going for a walk or even just having a natter with a friend.

Deep Breathing Exercises

You could also try simple relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises when you feel your stress levels rising.

You can practice deep breathing exercises virtually anywhere – sitting at your desk, in your hotel room, on a plane and even in your car.

With your mouth closed, slowly take a deep breath in through your nose to the count of five. Exhale slowly through your mouth, again counting slowly from one to five.

Continue breathing in this way for a few minutes, or until you begin to feel more relaxed.

More information: Stress (Mind)

Kirby, S. (2012). Stress. enVoyage The Inflight Magazine of Eva Air.

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Treatments for stress

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