Stress is now a common fixture in our hectic, busy lives.
Although chronic or long term stress affects us differently, it ultimately affects the whole body in a negative way and may contribute to many health complaints.
Do you often feel anxious, worried, depressed, irritable, exhausted, overloaded or forgetful? Do you suffer from sore muscles or joints, tension headaches, high blood pressure, frequent colds and flus, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, an increase or loss of appetite, or worsening of an existing illness or condition?
If you answered ” YES ” to one or more of these questions, your body may be overburdened with stress.
>FLIGHT OR FRIGHT: YOUR RESPONSE TO STRESS
Normally if you are confronted with a situation, your immediate response is to either attack or run away. This is known as the flight or fright response. Once this stress response is triggered, chemical messengers called adrenaline, cortisol and noradrenaline are produced by the adrenal glands and brain. These messengers increase blood flow to the essential organs such as the heart, lungs, brain and muscles to help us fight or run away. Digestive function slows down as this si less important in survival mode. Cortisol also increases the amount of sugar released into the blood to provide energy for the muscles to attack or run. In the past stress was short lived and once the stress was over, these chemical messengers shortly returned to normal.
However with modern day stress of long work hours, financial worries, traffic jams, and family issues, this stress response does not switch off because of our non stop busy lifestyles.
On going stress that does not resolve may result in chronic stress which can be the underlying cause of many health conditions. Chronic stress can impact body systems such as the cardiovascular system by contributing to high blood pressure. It can also take its toll on the nervous system leading to exhaustion, headaches and insomnia. Your digestive and immune systems can also be weakened by stress, making you more susceptible to irritable bowel syndrome, frequent colds and the flu.
>g>HERBS AND NUTRIENTS FOR DE-STRESSING</strong>
Rhodiola and Withania are herbs which enhance the body’s response to stress. Rhodiola reduces both physical and mental fatigue during times of stress.
Passionflower, kava, zizyphus, magnolia have been traditionally used for reducing stress, anxiety, and nervous tension.
St John’s wort is well known for supporting healthy mood and protecting against the effects of stress.
Magnesium, B group vitamins and glutamine are used in abundance during times of stress, when the body’s requirements for these key nutrients is increased. Magnesium assists in muscle relaxation and calms the nervous system.
5 TOP STRESS BUSTING TIPS
1. REST AND RELAXTION. Tai chi, yoga, and meditaion can help control stress and improve physical and mental well being.
2. THINK POSITIVE. A good attitude and positive outlook is fundamental for de-stressing. Thinking positvely will help you get through a stressful period with greater enthusiasm and drive.
3. EXERCISE. This is a brilliant form of stress relief, as it conditions the body and mind, encourages the release of endorphins, which help you to feel better.
4. INDULGE YOURSELF. Enjoy a well deserved massage or some other blissful treatment – perhaps soak ina bath with relaxing aromatherapy oils such as lavender, ylang ylang, chamomile or geranium.
5. EAT HEALTHY FOOD. Eat a diet abundant in fresh, brightly coloured fruits and vegetables. Consume protein with meals and snacks and enjoy foods high in essential fatty acids such as fish, nuts and seeds. Minimise caffeine, energy drinks, sugar, alcohol and processed foods as these will contribute to fatigue in the long term.