In the world we live in, the fostering of mental well-being is often put on the back burner, placing low on our list of priorities, if it makes it there at all. Partly, it is pushed aside because most people are taught from a young age not to show “weakness” in mentality, implicitly teaching us that the expression of emotions beyond a certain range and, in short, openly displaying that you are human, is weak. As a result, many individuals who are suffering mental anguish to an unhealthy degree remain silent out of fear of appearing weak. So, they tell themselves what they are feeling is no big deal and they need to get over it, burying negative thoughts and feelings deep within, where they fester and inevitably impact various areas of a person’s life. Many people who do end up seeking help in improving their mental well-being do so by visiting their primary care physician or a psychiatrist, whose solutions to such ‘problems’ are psychiatric medications with side effects that all too commonly result in a worsening of mental health.
However, it is important to understand that having a less than desirable level of mental well-being – whether the impedance comes in the form of anxiety, depression, or the like – is not so much a ‘problem’ as it is a part of being human. Luckily, there are various natural methods for improving mental well-being, including the herbs mentioned below. Of course, a plethora of other herbs, supplements, and lifestyle changes that promote healthy mental states exist as well. Putting forth effort to maximize mental well-being in order to lead the best life possible is more than worth it. Not only does it directly affect you, but it indirectly affects all who are connected to you in some way.
Chamomile: This commonly used herb is notorious for its calming abilities, and is often used as a relaxation promoting tea. One cup of chamomile tea can prove incredibly helpful in the face of stress and anxiety.
BONUS: Chamomile can also improve digestion, the nervous system, the immune system, and sleep, as well as signficantly reduce menstrual cramps.
Calamus Root: Calamus improves memory and concentration, while stimulating both the mind and body. It helps you step back and see things from a clearer perspective, so that problems which once seemed stressful and complex become simplified. Because of the effect stress has on the mind – racing, anxious thoughts hinder judgement and reasoning, clouding your ability to see the bigger picture – all problems can seem insurmountable, even when they have simple solutions. Basically, calamus calms the mind while simultaneously opening doors of perception that allow for sound judgement and an open mind, garnering you a clearer insight on life by dissolving destructive thought patterns.
BONUS: Calamus also has properties as an antioxidant, cicatrizant (wound healer), antimicrobial, insecticide, anti-rheumatic, anti-spasmodic, circulant, and anti-epileptic, When using calamus with uncontrolled epilepsy, it drastically reduced seizure activity.
St. John’s Wort: This herb works as a phenomenal antidepressant for many, so much so that some have been able to use it as a replacement for synthetic antidepressants to treat mild to moderate cases of depression without the side effects of prescription drugs . Some have reported experiencing some unwanted effects as a result of St. John’s Wort, such as sleep disturbances, so if you have an herbalist or health professional you trust it would be wise to consult with them before taking this herb. If you notice any unwanted changes in how you feel after starting it, then it may not be the correct depression solution for you. Luckily, there are plenty of other natural options for combating depression you can explore, such as the herbs, vitamins, and supplements.
BONUS: St. John’s Wort is also useful for muscle spasms, cramps, internal bruising, and inflammation
Kava Kava: Kava Kava is an excellent contender for relieving nervousness and anxiety in social settings. Kava Kava was used at gatherings as a social sacrament to encourage friendly interactions among people. Natives engaged in ceremonial drinking of Kava Kava before important community functions, especially ones involving treaties or rapprochement with enemies. Since it is not overly sedating, Kava Kava reduces nervousness, tension, and anxiety while still allowing outgoing, friendly, and genuine interactions.
BONUS: Kava Kava has medicinal properties enabling it to act as an antispasmodic and pain reliever. It is also a remedy for migraines and insomnia, as well as nerve, skin, and muscular problems resulting from pain.
These are just a few wonderful ways that nature can help our over all mental well being. There are hundreds more herbs that can benefit our body in many ways.