Relieve Stress Naturally with
Herbs, Ayurveda, & Acupressure
With Melissa Yaden EAMP, LMP, AWP
What is Stress?
Concerning Our Well-being; Stress is:
A state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very
demanding circumstances; something that causes or prolongs mental strain.
Literally Speaking; Stress is:
Pressure or tension exerted on a material object: the distribution of stress is uniform
across the bar.
• the degree of pressure exerted on a material object measured in units of force
per unit area.
What Types of Stress Exist?—Two Main types
Chronic Stress: is a long-term ailment that can lead to severe health problems
including high blood pressure, heart disease and low immunity. Acute Stress:
equivalent to fight or flight, also known as necessary stress, often for Survival.
The initial response to stress is the alarm reaction, which is
often referred to as the fight-or-flight response triggered
by activation of the sympathetic nervous system and,
ultimately, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis,
which causes the adrenals to secrete adrenaline and other
The stress response is actually part of a larger
response known as the general adaptation syndrome,
composed of three phases: alarm, resistance, and
exhaustion. These phases are largely controlled and
regulated by the adrenal glands.
Stress begins in the mind and affects the body
What's really happening
The heart rate and force of contraction of the heart increase to provide blood to areas necessary
for response to the stressful situation.
Blood is shunted away from the skin and internal organs, except the heart and lungs, whereas
the amount of blood supplying required oxygen and glucose to the muscles and brain is
The rate of breathing rises to supply necessary oxygen to the heart, brain, and exercising muscle
Sweat production increases to eliminate toxic compounds produced by the body and to lower
Production of digestive secretions is severely reduced because digestive activity is not critical to
Blood sugar levels are raised dramatically as the liver dumps stored glucose into the
*How Does Stress Feel?*
Take 3 minutes and write how stress makes you feel
and also the 4 main causes of stress in your life.
Studies have shown that Stress is directly linked to social hierarchy
The lower on the chain you are the less control you have
The less control you have the more stress you feel
having less control adds an element of uncertainty which in-turn
causes more stress
These findings have shown nearly identical correlation in Humans and
Those in dominance experience less stress and are expected to live
longer while those in sub-ordinance experience more stress and are
expected to live shorter lives.
these correlations also exist when comparing those with wealth and those
without, mostly due to environment and where people live and Work
Are we all that different than our ancestors in terms of stress?
We all learn our own coping mechanisms for
managing stress, Here are just a Few:
Dependence on chemicals: legal and illicit drugs,
alcohol, smoking, sugar
Too much television
Chronic Stress is linked to..
I.B.S. Common Cold
Now…What can we do about all
of this. We can be the change!
No one can live without experiencing
some degree of stress all the time. You
may think that only serious disease or
intensive physical or mental injury can
cause stress. This is false. Crossing a busy
intersection, exposure to a draft, or even
sheer joy are enough to activate the body’s
stress mechanisms at some level. Most
Stress is not necessarily bad for you;
in fact it is the spice of life, every emotion,
and activity causes some stress. It is our
perspective of stressors which
determines the outcome and
response to them. The same stress which
makes one person sick can be an
invigorating experience for another.
Addressing Stress with Joy
Building the body Temple to
Handle the stressors of our life
We have to take control and have positive tools in
place to help draw on in stressful times
Communication—Giving & Receiving
Take a moment and write down 5 things that you
can do to help manage your stress today
The heart rate is reduced and the heart beats more effectively. Blood
pressure is reduced
Blood is shunted towards internal organs, especially those organs involved
The rate of breathing decreases as oxygen demand is reduced during
periods of rest.
Sweat production diminishes, because a person who is calm and relaxed
does not experience nervous perspiration.
Production of digestive secretions is increased, greatly improving digestion.
Blood sugar levels are maintained in the normal physiologic range.
ABC of stress
A: acceptance , it is a reality that is both
necessary, and unavoidable. Our system is built
to manage stress.
B: Bring on the balance- the key to life. Balance
nutritional needs, activity level, meditation,
C: create daily calm- even if don't feel stressed,
having some practice to bring you into calm state
Producing deep relaxation with any technique requires
learning how to breathe. One of the most powerful
methods of producing less stress and more energy in
the body is by breathing with the diaphragm.
Diaphragm breathing activates the relaxation centers in
the brain and the parasympathetic nervous system.
Think about diaphragmatic breathing.
One of the most popular techniques for producing the
relaxation response is progressive relaxation. The technique is
based on a very simple procedure of comparing tension with
relaxation. Many people are not aware of the sensation of
relaxation. In progressive relaxation, an individual is taught
what it feels like to relax by comparing relaxation with muscle
Yogananda’s Energization exercises
Stress and Time Management...
Time management: a tool to help with stress:
One of the biggest stressors for most people is time. They simply do not feel
they have enough of it.
• Set priorities. Realize that you can only accomplish so much in a day. Decide
what is important, and limit your efforts to that goal.
Organize your day. There are always interruptions and unplanned demands on
your time, but create a definite plan for the day on the basis of your priorities.
Avoid the pitfall of always letting the “immediate demands” control your life
• Delegate authority. Delegate as much authority and work as you can. You
cannot do everything yourself. Learn to train and depend on others.
Time Management cont...
• Tackle tough jobs first. Handle the most important tasks first, when
your energy levels are high. Leave the busy work or running around for
later in the day.
• Minimize meeting time. Schedule meetings to bump up against the
lunch hour or quitting time; that way they cannot last forever.
• Avoid putting things off. Work done under pressure of an
unreasonable deadline often has to be redone. That creates more stress
than if it had been done right the first time. Plan ahead.
• Do not be a perfectionist. You can never really achieve perfection
anyway. Do your best in a reasonable amount of time, then move on to
other important tasks. If you find time, you can always come back later
and polish the task some more.
Effective Communication Helps
1. The first key to successful communication is the most
important: learn to be a good listener. Allow the person you
are communicating with to really share his or her feelings and
thoughts uninterrupted. Empathize with the person; put
yourself in his or her shoes. If you first seek to understand,
you will find yourself being better understood.
2. Be an active listener. This means that you must be truly
interested in what the other person is communicating. Listen
to what he or she is saying instead of thinking about your
response. Ask questions to gain more information or clarify
what he or she is telling you. Good questions open lines of
3. Be a reflective listener. Restate or reflect back to the other person
your interpretation of what he or she is telling you. This simple
technique shows the other person that you are both listening to and
understanding what he or she is saying. Restating what you think is
being said may cause some short-term conflict in some situations, but it
is certainly worth the risk.
4. Wait to speak until the person you want to communicate with is
listening. If the person is not ready to listen, your message will not be
heard no matter how well you communicate.
5. Do not try to talk over somebody. If you find yourself being
interrupted, relax; do not try to out-talk the other person. If you are
courteous and allow him or her to speak, eventually (unless extremely
rude) he or she will respond likewise. If that does not happen, point out
that the other person is interrupting the communication process. You
can do this only if you have been a good listener. Double standards in
relationships seldom work.
6. Help the other person become an active listener. This can be done
by asking whether he or she has understood what you were
communicating. Ask him or her to tell you what he or she heard. If
the other person does not seem to be understanding what you are
saying, keep trying until he or she does.
7. Do not be afraid of long silences. Human communication involves
much more than human words. A great deal can be communicated
during silences; unfortunately, in many situations silence can make
us feel uncomfortable. Relax. Some people need silence to collect
their thoughts and feel safe in communicating. The important thing
to remember during silences is that you must remain an active
Tuning into the Seasons:Spring
Spring - when earth awakens and new life bursts, cleansing what we don't need !
Chinese med associated this with wood element, the organs related are gallbladder and liver. This
wood element is nourished by water from the previous season. !
Spring ailments: wind can cause muscle aches and pains, spasms, headaches, allergies, - all of
which can congestion the liver result acting in anger frustration irritability stiff neck and shoulders,
hypertension , PMS, depression, mood swings. If you feel worse in spring, the liver may be
To balance springs energy- eat plenty of dark leafy greens such as collards, kale, mustard and
chard to help cleanse the blood and liver. You can include other natural greens growing at this time
like watercress, lambs quarters, chickweed, nettle,,purslane and dandelion. You can addd lemon
juice to help the iron absorption in the greens. !
Chamomile tea to help relax. !
Limit hard to digest foods, processed, fried, too much sugar or caffeine - all affect Liver !
Physical movement is very important to help move liver Qi !
Get to bed by 10:30 as the liver starts t activate around 11, and not give you as good of rest of you
sleep later, even if it's same number of hours !
Do gentle cleanse for. Week in spring, like a kitcharee cleanse
Essence of growth heat and activity. It is the fire element and it's associated organs are heart, small
intestine, (PC and SJ)!
Energy is expansive, flowing outwardly, the body's heat or inward fire can rise to the surface to cool us
inside. If we are hot natured, we can feel the worse this time of year. Lighter and easier to digest foods
are ideal for this time if year. !
Summer ailments: !
Overexcited or tired and sluggish, heated aches, exhaustion, impatience, hypertension, drinking too
much cold or iced things can cause stomach heat, which can parents as headache across foreheads,
bad breath, bleeding gums, ravenous hunger, extreme thirst, constipation, acid reflux, mouth ulcers. !
Fresh foods and fruits are nice, but should not be the only thing you eat so as t still keep your cooking.
Pot kindled. Try to protect and regulate energy versus straying to do more things with more light. !
Cooling and drying bitter taste can help balance heart and small intestine. Spicy herbs like chills and
curries open the pores to help sweat to cool the body.!
Increasing mint, lemon balm, chrysanthemum, hibiscus, green tea, cools the body and can make
refreshing summer drinks. Hawthorn is also nice to tonify the heart. !
We harvest the fruits of the previous seasons platings. Try to pull back from too many
outward activities to store your energy for winter. Keep the diet. Focus on warming
foods. Take time to separate things you don't need, and store the things you do need. !
This is the metal element , lungs and large intestine. The ability to receive and take in,
and release what is unnecessary is paramount this time of year. Colon purification. Can
be benefit now. !
Fall ailments: if we continue to live like in summer this time with the nice days, eating
cool foods, and dressing lightly, it can cause dysfunction, colds flus, sinus infection,
asthma. Continue warm cooked foods, emphasizing garlic, black pepper, ginger. Let
yogic breaths strengthen the lungs. If you keep windows open at night, make sure your
not exposing neck and shoulders or abdomen to cold draft. Eating cooked food and root
vegetables like squash, barley, cooking seasonal fruit with cinnamon and cardamom. For
dry coughs, can cook pears with a little rock sugar and ginger. Keeping herbs like
elecampane, mullein, coltsfoot, wild cherry bark, loquat close by for colds coughs. Take
astragalus for immunity.
Associated with the earth element. Time to stabilize and root. Associated with
spleen and stomach. Which rule digestion and assimilation. The quality of
this time of year is transformation, shift from warming to Cool. !
Late summer ailments: dampness can easily occur now. As seen in
monsoons or heavy late summer rains , can cause digestive problems
diarrhea fluid retention gas bloating poor appetite, malnutrition or weight gain. !
Take care to strengthen and improve digestion. Can include more complex
carbs, and protein with plenty veggies as fall comes into play , limit too many
cold and raw foods. !
Include more citrus peel, cardamom, ginger in cooking this time of year.
The energy of winter is about storage. It is the water element, kidneys and urinary bladder.
Life force is more internal, so try to retreat and go within during some of this time. Water
element regulates none health fluid metabolism, reproductive and endocrine system. They
store your deep inherited constitution energy, which is keeping you r healthy trust fund. Rest
replenishing your trust fund can help guide the energies throughout the year. !
Winter ailments: cold hand cold feet, poor circulation, low back pain, urinate frequently,
fearfulness. If you continue eating cool food ps or cool nature foods, this can damage your
digestion , and disrupt metabolic fires. Can have joint aches and pains, depression, poor me
memory. Having warming natured foods protein,dark small beans, leafy veggies, squashes,
roasted buckwheat. Again , cooking fruits with spices like cardamom, ginger, cinnamon. Use
spices like onions, garlic, ginger, cumin,fennel, basil,,fenugreek. Increasing seaweeds can
help the kidney energy. You can use more constitutional hydro in showers to help keep the
heat internalized. Slow down, reflect. !
Include more cinnamon dried ginger, elderberries, cloves, dill, astragalus to help digestion,
and increases immunity.
Take a worry Fast every day
Physical level of mental detoxification: pure diet!
Subtle level of mental detoxification: pranayama !
Causal level of mental detoxification mantra. Can
change excess rajas and tamas to sat a through
mantra or sound therapy.!
Ayurvedic 5-elements and the
The Ayurvedic five elements and the mind: !
Ether- inner self soul !
Air- inner mind deeper consciousness. !
Fire- intermediate intelligence !
Water- outer mind sensation emotion !
Earth- outer self ego
Top 10 kitchen herbs:
To help optimize your body and mind on a daily
basis include any combo of the following on
Restore vitality in debilitated and feeble
Increase feelings of energy
Improve mental and physical performance
Prevent the negative effects of stress and enhance
the body’s response to stress
Bacopa/ Gota kola
Builds cognitive function, and as a nervine tonic
Great for micro-circulation to the brain
Decreases chronic stress response
Adaptogen that builds and sustains energy and
Protects body from environmental stress, builds
strength and immunity
What has worked for you? How can you bring
peace into every moment?
Acupressure for Stress/Anxiety
See handout, discuss and practice finding the
points on yourself and your neighbor
Keeping compassion and gratitude a part of daily
life helps curb our reaction tendencies and keeps
our thoughts more sattvic.
Having a gratitude journal where you can write 5
things you are grateful for each day before sleep
Sound is a direct way to activate the relaxation
response in our body and mind.
It is a link between our physical and astral plane