how to reduce stress naturally with functional medicine

How to Reduce Stress Naturally with Functional Medicine

What is stress? Is it possible to understand how to reduce stress naturally?

Everyone can experience stress. However, the stress level and the cause of it might be different one person to another. Some people experience stress and successfully get rid of it after some time. Meanwhile, some have to suffer from it for months, or even years.

Stress is usually treatable. In fact, we can also learn how to reduce stress naturally. Before we learn how to do it, it is important to understand types of stress, symptoms, causes and other necessary information related to stress.

Types of Stress

Handling stress can be quite challenging, especially if one does not understand the type of stress he/she has. In fact, there are three different types of stress which will be explained as follows:

1. Acute stress

This is the type of stress which commonly be found among people. Acute stress is short-term, and manageable. It usually happens when our body is reacting to new challenges which trigger our fight-or-flight responses. For example, an argument with spouse or a friend, receiving criticism from coworker, or getting stuck in a seemingly endless traffic while going for a meeting.

Acute stress is highly treatable. However, someone who is having acute stress might show certain symptoms.  The symptoms someone has might be different from what others have but the most common ones include:

  • Anger, anxiety, depression, and irritability
  • Headache or migraine caused by muscular tensions
  • Stomach problems such as diarrhea, constipation, etc.
  • Increased heartbeat, cold hands, chest pain, shortness of breath, etc.

2. Episodic acute stress

The second type is episodic acute stress. It happens when someone experiences acute stress frequently and the acute stress is not well managed. For example, frequent fight and argument with spouse or family member.

People who suffer from episodic acute stress are usually short-tempered, easily irritated, and they can be pessimistic. They might also show physical symptoms such as headache or migraine, chest pain, and hypertension. However, these symptoms seem to be persistent and they occur more frequently compared to those in people with acute stress.

Episodic acute stress is still treatable. It can be done by changing lifestyle and getting professional help. Unfortunately, people with this type of stress often don’t see that there is something wrong going on in their lives. As a result, they are not able to realize that they need help.

3. Chronic stress

When acute stress doesn’t only happen frequently but lasts for a long time, it’s what we call as chronic stress. It can occur due to several reasons such as:

  • being stuck in a dysfunctional marriage or relationship
  • trapped in a wrong career
  • stuck with huge debts
  • suffered from traumatic childhood or experience
  • discrimination
  • poverty
  • suffering from chronic illness

People with chronic stress usually show mental symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, depression, and anger. These last for a long period of time that sometimes they even forget that they have them. They might also suffer from other symptoms such as sleeping disorder, weight loss or gain, memory and concentration issues. In some cases, it might also lead to suicide.

This type of stress is quite difficult to treat and the person will need professional help.

How Stress Affects the Body

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Not all stress is bad, however, this does not apply to chronic stress. When someone suffers from chronic stress, his/her health is at serious risk.

Not all stress is bad, however, this does not apply to chronic stress. When someone suffers from chronic stress, his/her health is at serious risk.

People with this type of stress tend to experience a lowered immune system. As a result, they might suffer from persistent headaches, migraines, chest pain, and high blood pressure.

Change in appetite, sex drive, insomnia, missed periods, fertility issues, constant fatigue and lack of motivation is possible to occur. Chronic stress might trigger chronic diseases such as:

  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Asthma and emphysema
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Erectile dysfunction or impotence
  • Etc.

How Stress Affects the Brain

When a person suffers from chronic stress, his/her body automatically produces more cortisol. It will disturb his/her brain to function normally. A lot of research also shows that stress can actually kill brain cells. It also can reduce brain size. As a result, the person will have difficulty in memorizing, concentrating, and/or learning.

Incorrect Ways to Deal with Stress

It is normal for people with stress to try their best to make themselves feel comfortable. They do things in the hope that they will be able to cope with stress.

However, it is important to understand that there are things you should not do to handle stress. Some incorrect ways to deal with stress are:

1. Overeating or under-eating

It is completely okay to eat your favourite food to comfort yourself during stress. However, it is not okay if you let yourself overeating. Some people also tend to not want to eat when they are stressed. Both overeating and under-eating are not healthy as they can lead to obesity or malnutrition.

2. Smoking and drinking too much

Smoking and drinking too much aren’t good ways to cope up with stress either. They can be harmful to our body.

3. Procrastinating

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Some people might procrastinate when they are stressed. Some even withdraw themselves from activities. However, it will not reduce stress. Instead, it will create other issues which might worsen the stress.

4. Staying away from family, and friends

It’s okay to take some time to be alone. However, it does not mean that you have to stay away from your family and friends. In fact, sometimes we need other people to support us during our darkest times.

5. Take out your anger to others

People with stress can be short-tempered and easily irritated. Sometimes, it is tempting for them to just take out their anger to others. It is definitely not the correct way to reduce stress as it will only hurt others and lead to another mess. You might also feel guilty afterwards.

6. Sleeping too Much

Some people with stress choose to cope with their stress by sleeping. Whilst getting enough sleep is good, sleeping too much will only worsen their situation.

A research published on National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) shows that sleeping too much is associated with higher BMI and also psychiatric diseases.

What You Can Do To Reduce Stress

Whilst some activities can worsen your situation, here are things you can do to reduce stress:

1. Exercise

Doing exercise can help your body releases endorphins which helps improve your mood. People who exercise regularly also get a good quality of sleep and it lowers the risk of experiencing stress.

2. Meditation

Meditation can help you increase mindfulness and combat negative thinking. As a result, it helps decrease stress, anxiety and depression. You can also use scented candles for meditation to help you more relax. Choose candles with calming scents such as lavender, sandalwood, orange blossom, etc.

3. Take less caffeine

Coffee and tea might be two of the most favourite beverages. However, high doses of caffeine can increase anxiety.

4. Spend quality time with family and friends

Spending quality time with family and friends can help you get through a difficult time. Receiving support from people around you will help lowering stress and anxiety.

5. Write down things which stress you out

Keeping things by yourself can only worsen your stress. If you can’t share it with anyone, at least you can write down your problem on a piece of paper. After that, you can write about things that you are grateful for as it would help you feel more motivated.

6. Know your limit

Sometimes, we cannot say no to others because we just do not want to hurt their feelings. Unfortunately, saying ‘yes’ to all requests you get and forcing yourself to do that will only make you feel overwhelmed. As a result, you are prone to experience stress.

7. Listen to relaxing music

Some types of music, such as classical music, can help relax your mind and body. There is also music made to help people relieve stress.

How to Reduce Stress Naturally

There are ways to reduce stress naturally, and one of them is through Functional Medicine. Functional Medicine is an approach which focuses on the root causes of illness or health problems. It does not rely on drugs or surgery.

Whilst drugs might help you feel better, it mostly does not really get rid of the root cause. As a result, the stress might get back and you will still suffer. However, in Functional Medicine, practitioners believe that our bodies have an amazing ability to heal itself using the correct approach.

Functional Medicine practitioners and health coaches understand that by getting rid of the cause of your stress can help you be free from it. They also understand the balance rule, in which your lifestyle, diet, and environment work as important roles in affecting your mental health.

They help people analyze the root cause of their stress and leave habits which might trigger stress. They work together with their patients to replace those bad habits with healthy ones and rebuild their lives. In the end, the patients will be able to reach their health goal. In this case, to reduce their stress naturally.


Stress can happen to anyone and to manage stress, we need to understand which type of stress someone has. Chronic stress can be harmful to our brain and body. However, it is treatable and one of the ways to reduce stress naturally is through Functional Medicine approach.

If you are suffering from stress, in need of help, and want to reduce stress naturally with functional medicine, you can reach out to me at or set a free coaching session with me

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