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Calming Stress, Anxiety, Depression, Pain Relief

 
Michael Leiber
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I need help finding an herbal alternative. I have issues with stress, anxiety, and depression to a point that it's affecting my marriage and my interactions with others. Over the weekend a friend came over and while she was here she gave me some medication telling me that it would calm me. To be honest I felt the calming effect of marijuana without the high. My wife said while I was on the medication I was "cool". When I asked the friend what she gave me she told me it was Lorcet Plus. After searching online I discovered that is a narcotic pain medication consisting of hydrocodone and acetiminophen. I don't want to take pain pills and risk becoming addicted to them and I thought for sure there would be an herb or two that would provide me with this same calming effect without taking illegal narcotics or developing an addiction! Please help!!!
 
Tyler Ludens
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I have had good success with Lemon Balm, Chamomile and Passionflower/Passionvine teas. Some people find they are helped by Valerian, though I found it gave me a "hung over" feeling the next day, it also smells bad.

If you're sedentary, taking a moderate walk can help with anxiety, if you can find a relatively quiet place to walk, like a park or country road. Some people are relaxed by a daily long hot bath.

Please check with your physician before taking any kind of drug, even those given by friends. In fact, if you're having severe anxiety and depression, it might be good to talk to your regular medical doctor about it.
 
Michael Leiber
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I'm not that sedentary. My problems are more manic than anything. I have bouts of happiness sometimes and bouts of anxiety others. It doesn't take much to set me off sometimes. The interesting thing about me is often times depressants act as stimulants.

As far as checking with a physician, you can skip that. I don't have much money and I don't have insurance. I also prefer natural remedies over chemical ones, which is another reason why I came here and didn't go see a doctor.
 
P Thickens
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Location: Bay Area, California (z8)
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Michael Leiber wrote:I'm not that sedentary. My problems are more manic than anything. I have bouts of happiness sometimes and bouts of anxiety others. It doesn't take much to set me off sometimes. The interesting thing about me is often times depressants act as stimulants.

As far as checking with a physician, you can skip that. I don't have much money and I don't have insurance. I also prefer natural remedies over chemical ones, which is another reason why I came here and didn't go see a doctor.


Sounds like ADD and manic/depressive disorder. How old are you, how much sunlight are you getting, and how much large muscle movement (serious, involved exercise) do you get in a day?
 
Michael Leiber
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P Thickens wrote:Sounds like ADD and manic/depressive disorder. How old are you, how much sunlight are you getting, and how much large muscle movement (serious, involved exercise) do you get in a day?


I'm 29. I was diagnosed with ADHD as a kid. I do still have issues consistent with ADD such as difficulty focusing on conversations or tasks, problems with short term memory, and occassional brain fog. I've struggled with depression off and on most of my life, but I don't get into the deep self-injury or suicidal depressions the way I used to when I was young. I've wondered if it was manic, especially since I am sometimes overly sensitive and get angry or sad easily and others is as if I'm almost completely numb to my feelings, but I've never been officially diagnosed with it. I don't get a lot of sunlight because I work nights, but I've been trying to get out during the day whenever I can. That's a lot harder with the shorter winter days we're having. Within the last few months I've started doing cardio an hour a day 2-4 times a week as I can fit it in and light workouts (push-ups, crunches, ect.) about 3 times a week. On top of that I've changed my diet and experienced significant weight loss for the short time I've been dieting. The diet and exercise seems to be helping my energy levels and cognition but I'm still having issues with the anxiety. Lately the anxiety has been even worse due to some recent, emotionally devestating events in my life. I know some people smoke marijuana to help with this, but I can't because it makes me lazy and messes with my cognition and my memory.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, as was my sister, who has been hospitalized several times due to extreme depression. So I know it is hard. I also know about not wanting to take medications. I'm not currently taking antidepressants. Personally I found it easier to deal with my illness with medical help, but if you can't afford to go to a physician, I can understand. Just so you understand you might have a serious potentially life threatening medical condition, like diabetes or heart disease. I certainly hope you'd get medical help for those conditions. You might want to look into Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which you can do with a loved one's help. There are some workbooks for it available. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is basically learning to retrain your thoughts and behaviors so you become aware of how they interact to cause your feelings. It's good that you're getting some exercise. Avoiding noisy stressful situations is helpful also or any situations with too much stimulation, which can trigger mania. The most important thing I've found as has my sister, is the need for regular sleep. Working nights may actually be the main problem, if you can't sleep well during the day. If I have even one bad night's sleep, I get worse symptoms. Those herbs I listed are all good for helping one sleep.
 
Faith Smith
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No cost you might want to look into fastereft.com, lots of youtube examples =) Fai
 
Sharol Tilgner
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Following is a general formula for depression and anxiety. It is best though if you find a holistic practitioner to assist you.

ANTIDEPRESSIVE FORMULA
St. John’s wort Hypericum perforatum 25-40%
Kava kava Piper methysticum 15-30%
Oats Avena sativa 10-20%
Siberian ginseng Eleutherococcus senticosus 15-30%
Skullcap Scutellaria lateriflora 5-10%
Chamomile Matricaria recutita 5-10%
Schisandra Schisandra chinensis 5-10%
Lavender essential oil Lavandula officinalis to taste
Orange essential oil Citrus aurantium to taste
Actions:
This formula is a restorative tonic for the nervous system. It is an antidepressive formula that brings a sense of peace and relaxation through the olfactory action and the effect from internal consumption.
Indications:
This formula is used for mild to moderate depression. It should be used long term for best results. It is also helpful for Attention Deficit Disorder.

Profiles of herbs used in this formula:
St. John’s wort, Hypericum perforatum, is a nervine, anti-inflammatory, sedative and trophorestorative. It is used for depression, fear, insomnia, anorexia, anxiety or feelings of worthlessness, nerve pain and night terrors. St. John’s wort should be used long term for these effects.
Kava kava, Piper methysticum, is a sedative, hypnotic, antispasmodic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory and mildly anticonvulsant. It is used to relieve anxiety, stress, insomnia, tension headaches, Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Syndrome and general pain from muscle spasms or inflammation. Research has shown individuals are able to maintain cognitive functions when using kava kava, unlike most sedative or hypnotic drugs.
Siberian ginseng, Eleutherococcus senticosus, is an adaptogen. It helps the body adapt to stressful situations of many types whether from internal or external causes. It increases endurance and concentration and enhances oxygen metabolism in tissues and organs. This herb strengthens digestion, kidneys and enhances overall resistance to disease. It is supportive to the adrenal system and other bodily functions.
Skullcap, Scutellaria lateriflora, is a sedative, antispasmodic, hypotensive, nervous system trophorestorative and cerebral vasodilator. It is used for insomnia, restless sleep, agitation, nervous exhaustion and nervous system weakness after prolonged illness. Skullcap is indicated for nervous irritation of the cerebrospinal nervous system.
Chamomile, Matricaria recutita, is anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, analgesic, carminative, sedative and stomachic. It is a restorative tonic for the nervous system. Chamomile is used as a mild sedative for nervousness and nightmares and is especially nice for infants and elders that are restless when attempting to sleep.
Oat, Avena sativa, is a slow-acting nourishing nervine. Oat has been used in breaking addictive habits with substances like morphine, opium, alcohol, nicotine and coffee. It is also used for insomnia, nervousness and an irritated nervous system caused by exhaustion or stress.
Schisandra, Schisandra chinensis, is a hepatoprotective, immunomodulator, adaptogen and a cholagogue. It increases brain efficiency, work capacity and builds strength. This is in this formula because of its multisystem support. It is useful in insomnia, night sweats, prolonged diarrhea and immunodeficient states.
Lavender, Lavandula officinalis, is a spasmolytic, anti-inflammatory and carminative. It is used for nervous excitement, exhaustion and insomnia.
Orange essential oil, Citrus aurantium, has an aroma that is relaxing and uplifting. The aroma is taken into the body by the olfactory nerve and affects the limbic system of the brain.


It is important to note that St. John's Wort can effect many drugs by increasing or decreasing the amount of drug in your body. It effects drugs that are processed by the cytochrome p450 system. So if you are on drugs that effect this detox pathway, don't use it. If you don't know, don't use it.
Also if you make this formula up yourself, don't add more than a few drops of essential oil per oz of tincture. Saint John's wort is not effective as a tea and it is the main ingredient so I don't suggest this as a tea if you make it up.

You can read more about these individual herbs on my website where I have posted a free materia medica.: http://www.herbaltransitions.com/BotanCom.html I wish you well.

Good luck and definitely find someone who can give you advice specific to your situation as this is just general information we are all providing and not specific to you.
 
P Thickens
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Michael Leiber wrote: I'm 29. I was diagnosed with ADHD as a kid.


This is why depressants act as uppers, and stimulants bring you down. Very common. This will probably not change.


Michael Leiber wrote: I do still have issues consistent with ADD such as difficulty focusing on conversations or tasks, problems with short term memory, and occassional brain fog.


Dr. Amen talks here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kacZ7eWpe8k&feature=related about what happens in the ADHD brain and how he treats it. Watch the all the segements -- at the end he talks about natural treatments for the different cases he discussed.


Michael Leiber wrote: I don't get a lot of sunlight because I work nights, but I've been trying to get out during the day whenever I can..


Sitting in the light from a bright window also works very well. The next time you have some time off, try to get about 20 minutes of sunlight (or more) during the day. Vitamin D, naturally absorbed, has a lot of effect on people's moods and regulation of same.



Michael Leiber wrote: That's a lot harder with the shorter winter days we're having. Within the last few months I've started doing cardio an hour a day 2-4 times a week as I can fit it in and light workouts (push-ups, crunches, ect.) about 3 times a week.


A very well-reviewed study has recently shown that those with mild-to-moderate depression respond to large muscle movement just as well as they do to drugs. That is, medication has the same effect as a lot of exercise. Take a big strong walk. Bike around town. Paint a room. Those large movements really help... they help me.
 
Michael Leiber
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Thanks! You guys have given me a lot to think about and look into! I didn't really expect to get such great response I have noticed exercise (like running, treadmill, or elliptical) does seem to elevate my mood, as well as getting out in the sun more, and getting more sleep. I'll definitely check into the supplements more, and maybe when I get a better job and start making more money I'll check into holistic care.
 
Tyler Ludens
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The thing that helps me the most is working outside in the garden.
 
Fred Morgan
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One thing that has been shown to make a remarkable difference besides sun and exercise is fish oil, about 4 or so capsules a day. My wife swears by it. It seems that for many people, it is a lack of Omega 3. Do some searches, it has been shown that taking fish oil is as effective, often as things like Zoloft, but without the sideeffects. The only side effect I know of is fish burbs, but that eventually goes away. There are some preparations that are supposed to get rid of this, too.

Sometimes the right solution is to find out the root cause instead of trying to deal with symptoms. Isn't that the point of permaculture?
 
George Lee
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lots of omega 3s from various sources (flax seed, fish oil, walnuts)

niacin (vit b3) has shown to completely reverse depressive bouts/thoughts (b vitamins are energy producers/regulators) brown rice, peanuts, fish, liver, chicken, tomatoes

there's no medicine like exercise, and i don't mean just walking.. I mean running, high intensive if possible

I 'm on the 'tabata' protocol http://www.tabataprotocol.com/ nothing terribly fancy but cuts time by more than half for time spent exercising

japanese researchers found the short intervals and heartrate was as good as 45-1hr of moderate exercise in far less time

I'm in the best shape i've ever been in

again, no medicine like a dedicated exercise regime for mood regulation, loss of unneeded fat, building of muscle along with complete diet
 
nancy sutton
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Not an herb, but maybe 'natural' when achieved by ... meditation, single point focus, 'drawing on the right side of the brain', 'Flow', etc. An article from this week's The Week magazine.

http://theweek.com/article/index/226196/how-electrical-brain-stimulation-can-change-the-way-we-think

This is from one comment ("Dr. Fugedy") .....

" ....I have used tDCS to provide relief for treatment-resistant chronic pain, migraine and depression for the last 5 years ..."


 
gani et se
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Hypericum perforatum (st. johns wort) can cause photosensitivity in some people. Just something to be conscious of.
 
S Haze
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I've read that basswood blooms can be prepared to help with insomnia and mood problems. Has anyone here tried this or had experience harvesting from the tree. So far the basswood trees here just seem to have a bit of leaf starting to bud out and it doesn't look like any sort of flower or seed bearing parts. I've never before noticed that they're one of the later trees to leaf out around here, gotta love learning new things!
 
Jeanine Gurley
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I love my Valerian root so much that I am now growing it at home. I can take it occasionally or once or twice a day for a couple of weeks. There are a very few studies that have been done on adults and children where Valerian replaced the pharmacuticals they were taking - a little googling could give you some insight on that.

Some people say that it just makes them sleepy but I have found (for me) that taking a scheduled dose during periods of high stress kind of levels me out and helps me cope.

I have not been able to find any problems with long term dosage or interactions with other drugs - but that doesn't mean there aren't any! I like to find at least 3-4 independant sites that say the same thing before I try a new herb just to be safe.
 
Shawn Harper
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I also have ADHD, I recommend coffe twice a day if you aren't already. Once in the begining of our day and once about 9 hours before you sleep.
 
Betty Lamb
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Michael Leiber wrote:I need help finding an herbal alternative. I have issues with stress, anxiety, and depression to a point that it's affecting my marriage and my interactions with others. Over the weekend a friend came over and while she was here she gave me some medication telling me that it would calm me. To be honest I felt the calming effect of marijuana without the high. My wife said while I was on the medication I was "cool". When I asked the friend what she gave me she told me it was Lorcet Plus. After searching online I discovered that is a narcotic pain medication consisting of hydrocodone and acetiminophen. I don't want to take pain pills and risk becoming addicted to them and I thought for sure there would be an herb or two that would provide me with this same calming effect without taking illegal narcotics or developing an addiction! Please help!!!


Valerian Root tea, it's stinky but it's calming, not addictive, it supports your nervous system. When my father in law passed away my husband's anxiety was very high and the tea soothed him- it's good in a crisis (and before bedtime). Another one when you are under high stress is Sam-E it is an amino acid that supports your brain - it makes the thinking not so hard.

Of course to get to the root of your anxiety is the cure. I use a meditation that helps me to be objective, and stay "present". For me I find sorting out hidden resentments that I am feeling go a long way in dealing with the anxiety. Also (and this is just from my personal experience) when I find I've let myself be bullied, when I betrayed my conscience and not stood up to someone for whatever reason, this is a huge cause of anxiety. Going along with something I don't want to do just to get along with someone else is another huge anxiety.



 
Faust Robinson
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Recommend to try my free app Guided Meditation
* Step by step affirmations and flight through fantastic worlds guide you to the depths of the subconscious
* The exceptional atmosphere of endless journey helps to calm and clear your mind
* 12+ Meditation scripts: Breathing, Counting, Body Awareness, Healing, Pain Management, Chakra Healing, Light Protection, Positive Thinking, Learn an Instrument, Learning Language, Produce Calmness, Meditation for Acting
YouTube:

iTunes (iOS): https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/guided-meditation/id822904884?mt=8
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Burra Maluca
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Thanks for sharing that.

I've embedded the youtube video below.



I have to admit, whilst I found the music very soothing, the voice-over had totally the wrong effect for me.
 
Joy Oasis
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Besides the mentioned herbs, I read that borage leaf tea is helpful. But to permanently release this, person needs to go to the root - negative memories and as a result beliefs stuck in the brain, and need to be processed. Cognitive therapies can't do that. Very often they actually set them in deeper as they bring them up without any solution.
Check out EMDR, which seems to help a lot of people to reprocess them. Now they warn you not to do it yourself, but it is really easy to do - basically you bring up the memory or even just a feeling, if you do not know, which memory it is connected to, become aware where in your body you feel it. You can rate it intensity wise, just to give you later an idea, how you are moving along. Then hold the feeling and start doing either eye movements from side to side (like in REM stage of the sleep), or tap alternatively your body sides, or they even have bilateral music or just simple sound tracks (you would have to use headphones for that effect). Be aware of both - feeling and movement, and let whatever comes to come. Your feeling in the body will change location, color, intensity, it might bring up new memories and feelings. Whatever comes just stay with it and let it be. Take a break, when you feel like it. Usually people go for a few minutes, and then stop. As you stop, you can rate it again. Once intensity is zero or 1, you can look into the feeling you would like to have instead and check how believable that belief or feeling is to you. Rate that too. Now keep that in mind and do bilateral movements again. That is a basic idea, but read some books from the library about it, because there are some more details like practicing to find a safe space (in your body, and in memories or visualization, etc.)
It really works, because it resolves even tough things like war veteran's nightmares, etc within several sessions after years of fruitless talking therapies. It reorganizes interaction between both sides of the brain and puts memories in an appropriate place -just a story about the past, that has nothing to do with the now. You don't have to have large traumas to benefit from it. Mini traumas can affect our life not much less since they create negative and limiting beliefs.
You can also try EFT, full version, which also includes eye movements. I tried both and feel, that EMDR is stronger (and simpler too)-I get vivid dreams after I do it more.
 
Sharol Tilgner
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To add to the last post, you may also want to consider conscious manifestation of health. The information is here: http://herbaltransitions.com/ConsciousManifestationOfHealth.html
 
Tricia Dignon
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Hi I'm not sure if anyone has recommended Tulsi (holy basil) to you yet, but I have found it to be extremely useful for anxiety and depression. Tulsi has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. The name tulsi is translated as "the incomparable one". It promotes a general sense of well being and is said to elevate the mood in times of stress.
As with all herbs you have to consider how it will effect your body when deciding whether or not to take it. Tulsi is an anticoagulant, and also contains slightly high levels of chromium.
I hope you find an herbal regimen that can help!
 
Steven Kovacs
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I realize the OP hasn't posted in 4 years and therefore is likely not reading this thread. That said, for anyone in his situation or similar, I can recommend Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), which is a form of (secular) meditation; some of it incorporates some basic, slow yoga. It's not an instant solution, and it does require you dedicate some time to it - but on the other hand meditation is free and has zero side effects, and it has been shown to be effective for depression and anxiety. The slow yoga portions of it also help with flexibility and balance.
 
Ian Rule
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While acknowledging the age of this post, I feel like I should chime in as a journeyman 'high guy'.

Ive struggled with the same internal conflicts throughout the years, and found that doctors want to melt your brain, and herbal remedies often aren't up to the task of combatting the infinite, existential darkness inside. That being said, Ive spent time "learning" about "neater" substances, and personally cant imagine life on a different path. LSD turned this hot pocket gamer into a raving botanist and gardener. Psychedelics are... the future of psychiatry, if you ask me.

However, while hesistant to hand out "drug advice" to a stranger, and NOT BEING A DOCTOR, I have found an interesting little goblin in my adventures.

A plant by the name of Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is used in Thailand similar to Coca leaves - chew one up for a nice, working buzz, with very few "coke fiends and junkies" walking around as a result. Without boiling these compounds into dire refinements, theyre much less innocuous.

Kratom is useful in that lower doses will provide energy and mood boost, while higher doses provide relaxation and sleep that is truly on par with an opiate.
While that is definitely a noteworthy quality and harbors addictive potential (what good thing doesn't?) I have found that for anxiety, pain, sleeplessness, or even just a bad day at work - this guy does the deed, with no more harmful side effects than booze. Consume too much, and youll barf and meet the devil.
Just like any other powerful plant spirit, used correctly it is a miracle - as far as western medicine is concerned. It WORKS.

Its legal, safe-ish (not a ton of long term studies done, but native peoples [respectively] use it daily with seemingly few side effects) and perfectly agreeable to replace a cup of coffee in the morning. Easy to order online.

With a wizards warning, I would give a full "see for yourself" recommendation, as Kratom has found a lasting slot in the medicine chest.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Ian,

Thanks for presenting your knowledge of this plant, and your experience of it's efficacy, along with careful caveats. I'd like to see if I can grow that plant.

I wonder if you are aware of the connection between life long persistent dysthymia which you seem to be describing in your own case, and brain injury. There is current research which seems to show that brain injury can occur in bumps on the head so slight that there is no loss of consciousness. One tool used for assessing head injuries in the US and likely many other countries, is the glasgow coma scale. A person can sustain this strange injury without any indication by a less than perfect glasgow coma score.

This apparent slight brain injury is thought to disrupt the brain's own production of necessary hormones. Yes, the brain makes hormones such as growth hormone, testosterone and a few forms of estrogen, I think some cortisol and I don't know what else. The imbalance of hormones in the brain makes the successful treatment of PTSD and depression and other dysthymic conditions impossible.

I am sure there must be some survival value to something this persistent complex, though I have not heard of research in that direction. The best source of information I know of for this whole thing is an MD named Mark Gordon, who can be found through a web search. I've heard him interviewed by Joe Rogan in several of Rogan's 3 hour podcasts. The treatment is low level carefully orchestrated bioidentical hormone replacement. There was one podcast when an American soldier who had fought in Iraq was also present to tell of his experiences with the traumatic brain injury PTSD complex, and his treatment by Gordon.

For people with the life long persistent depression and altered mood, I think it's worth looking into.

 
Ian Rule
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Amazing! Very interesting, I do a lot of reading and ruminating, and have never heard of such a condition.

While I don't expect to be *cheered* by the info, Im glad to have it!
Thanks!
 
Jason Vath
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A lot of what was posted earlier sounds good and I can verify it.
I know from personal experience what worked for me. I had unshakable depression for 2 years straight then finally I was back to normal rather quickly.

Skullcap: (good quality 'Oregon's Wild Harvest' brand for example) capsules worked very well, immediate relief from mental agitation! This was reported to work well with many others I knew as well.
stinging nettles tea: This amazed me, I felt as if I was consuming healing sunshine within seconds of drinking it! sounds crazy but, seriously had a HUGE positive impact for me.
Indian food: The first time I was introduced to this food I began to quickly break out of depression. I can only assume it's due to the anti-oxidants from the potent spices of the curry & also the healthier fats (ghee)
Walnuts: raw, organic
Pumpkin Seeds: raw, organic
Going for walks in the woods nearly everyday (getting the body moving while in a calm place)
Earthing: barefoot on the ground, especially while gardening!
Avoiding pollution at all costs. Fresh air, no chemical air"fresheners", household chemicals etc.
Plenty of personal time to relax.

Since then I've learned the importance of the "90 essential Nutrients" that Dr. Joel Wallach promotes.
He claims that every disease/disorder is primarily the result of mineral deficiencies.
 
Sharol Tilgner
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Folks might want to know about the FREE Anxiety Summit: http://www.theanxietysummit.com I have not watched this online conference but some people have found it useful. They had it in May last year. I assume they will have it around the same time this year.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
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Ian,

per your comment: "I do a lot of reading and ruminating, and have never heard of such a condition."

I don't know which condition you're referring to but here are brief definitions:

PTSD: post traumatic stress disorder

dysthymia: persistent mild depression

Traumatic brain injury (TBI):, also known as intracranial injury, occurs when an external force traumatically injures the brain. That would be when a bump on the head, or the shaking of using a jack hammer , or similar shaking motion occurs. (Example: in the US - much to my shame - it is not uncommon of for immature spoiled rotten frustrated angry parents to vigorously shake crying babies, in an effort to get them to stop crying). That kind of motion, or a single impact, causes the brain to move within the skull and bump into the bones that house the brain.
 
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