Stress is frustrating. The last time I went to my doctor for a checkup, she told me that my blood pressure was too high and my waist weight was creeping up again. That was a shock because I eat healthy meals with fresh veggies, avoid salt and go for a walk every day.
“Have you been stressed lately?” she asked. I just looked at her. I think it’s safe to say that most of us have been feeling stressed the last few years. I never imagined it could cause so many problems with my healthy lifestyle.
The bigger surprise was what the doctor told me afterward: “I want you to try taking adaptogens for a couple of months.” I had never even heard of adaptogens before!
What Are Adaptogens?
Adaptogens are plant compounds that naturally lower anxiety. These herbs make you more resistant to the effects of stress hormones. They reduce anxiety and all the negative effects that come along with it.
How Does Stress Affect Your Body?
Cortisol, your body’s stress hormone, gets your heart racing at the drop of a hat. This can trigger countless issues:
- Physical symptoms: Low energy levels, headaches, high blood pressure, chest pain, digestive problems, weakened immune system, weight gain, physical pain and inflammation
- Emotional symptoms: Sadness, depression, panic attacks, lack of desire to see other people and no enjoyment from things you used to like
- Mental symptoms: Lack of motivation, mental exhaustion, concentration problems (brain fog), trouble sleeping, irritability
How Do Adaptogens Work?
When stress hormones are too high, you feel anxiety rushing in. The effect is even worse when you have low levels of “happy” hormones that should create feelings of calm. Adaptogens alleviate stress by lowering negative hormones and boosting positive brain chemicals. They keep your body’s systems in balance.
What Are the Benefits of Adaptogens?
With the help of adaptogens — plus good habits such as exercise and sleep — you can turn the tables on anxiety:
- Higher energy levels
- Fewer sad days or panic attacks
- Increased positive feelings
- Stronger immune system
- Improved mental focus and endurance
- Better physical stamina
- Lower blood pressure
- Less weight gain
What Are the Best Adaptogens for Your Mood?
If you’ve ever relaxed with a cup of licorice root tea and your favorite book, adaptogens have already helped you with stress relief. Here are my favorites:
- Ashwagandha: Promotes feelings of overall wellbeing and happiness
- Rhodiola rosea: Helps with tiredness and mental fatigue
- Cordyceps: Increases physical stamina
- Licorice root: Promotes calm and relaxation
- Siberian ginseng: Boosts energy levels
- Holy basil: Lowers stress, anxiety and depression
- Turmeric: Increases mental focus, alleviates stress and fights inflammation
- Astragalus root: Helps with physical, mental and emotional stress
That’s all there is to it — healthy, natural herbs that alleviate anxiety. Personally, I prefer taking these adaptogens in a stress-fighting supplement because it helps me get the right amount of every day. Other people sip teas made with these herbs when under a lot of stress.
No plant can change the way you look at stressful events, but adaptogens can keep your body from going into red-alert mode constantly. That way, you worry less about things that aren’t a big deal. And when truly stressful events happen, you can stay in control and find a solution instead of “losing it.”