Several years ago, I had a client whose nine-year old son had anger issues. His doctor diagnosed him with ADD and suggested medication to quell his angry outbursts. “What do you think?” the mother inquired of me. Not an advocate of prescription medications (with the exception of the most extreme cases), I told her honestly that if it were my child I would exhaust every natural method before resorting to drugs. “Is he at risk for hurting himself or someone else?” I asked. “No”, she replied. “He has meltdowns.” After some discussion, we came to the mutual conclusion that her son was extremely frustrated (for a variety of reasons).”Let’s explore some calming resources of the natural genre” I recommended. “If they are unsuccessful we can always seek other remedies.” She was in complete agreement.
I love nature. To me, it is synonymous with God. And nothing is more soothing than Divine Energy. So I created a list of activities for him to utilize each day to calm him emotionally and soothe his frustration.
Prayer: communicate each day with the Divine, whether in formal prayer or through casual conversation. Research has show that those who have a connection to a Higher Power have a greater sense of calm and serenity. Whenever one begins to feel upset, talk to God. He’s available 24/7, is a really good listener, gives great advice and comfort, and He’s fees are generally very reasonable.
Nature: spend time in nature each day. When individuals engage with lush vegetation, areas of the brain associated with emotional stability, empathy, and love become more active.*While running and playing outdoors have multiple benefits, mindfulness is critical to fully reap its benefits. Practice being present to nature by removing all technology, conversation, or outside distractions. Choose an object and focus all of your energy on it. Listen intently to the sounds of nature: wind blowing through the trees, running water in a stream, birds chirping, crickets in the evening, the rustling of a squirrel as it springs from branch to branch. Walking, hiking, and gardening are also valuable activities anyone can participate in on a daily basis.
Water: humans are comprised of nearly 75% H20. Minor dehydration can lead to pessimism and negative thoughts can cause irritability and hopelessness (definition of anger). Sipping water throughout the day rehydrates and can prevent such an occurrence.
Aromatherapy: nature fills the air with an abundance of delicious scents. These can be accessed naturally or purchased in retail establishments. Lavender is long known to help relieve anxiety (a mild form of fear – a root cause of anger) and also alleviate depression (anger turned inward). It’s properties enable the brain to slow down the activity of the sympathetic nervous system that responds to stress (frustration – another root cause of anger).Chamomile, sandalwood, and lilac are just a few scents that can be used to mitigate anger.
Natural herbs: I’ve used both herbs and aromatherapy for my dogs who have had emotional issues due to abuse. I found Valerian Root to be one of the most successful. It relaxes muscles (which tense up when angry or frightened), and relieves anxiety. Skullcap is a more potent version of Valerian Root. Passion Flower is known to calm the mind and prevent agitation.
God has blessed us with so many natural remedies for whatever medical or emotional issues we encounter. Why not take full advantage of what is readily available to us rather than rely on man-made products? As for my client’s son – I’m happy to say that he was able to avert the need for prescription meds after having incorporated some natural remedies into his daily routine. Try Nature. You just might be pleasantly surprised.
*Dr. Alan Logan, College of Naturopathic Medicine
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