Coping with stress

Coping with stress

Author -  Good Health

Who’s feeling stressed? Or would it be easier to ask “who isn’t feeling stressed”? Could it be that you are more stressed than you even realise? If so – what can you do to combat the symptoms of stress and in turn, live a healthier lifestyle? Lets find out…

Today’s lifestyle means we find it hard to maintain healthy stress levels. It’s not uncommon to work longer, eat faster, rely on “fast food” and take little time to rest and digest daily activities, let alone the food we eat. When these factors are all combined it can cause many and varied physical and mental conditions that can range from poor digestion and blood sugar imbalances, to joint issues and poor cardiovascular health, with stress often being a predominant and common underlying denominator.

The body’s “normal” stress response is actually something that is physiologically designed to protect us. It is our “fight or flight” mechanism. In response to feeling fear, danger, anxiety or excitement for example, our adrenal glands release the hormones adrenaline and cortisol. This shot of hormones increases our heart rate, decreases digestion, increases oxygen to muscles that need it, quickens breathing and our senses become sharper etc. - thus if you were a caveman and a mammoth was charging, you have the ability to act quickly and move faster. (You wouldn’t worry about digesting your lunch; you are much more concerned with the movement of your leg muscles).

In short bursts stress can be something that can be used to our advantage; it may help you to perform under pressure, keep you focused and alert and give you an added spur on to finish a task. However, for many of us stress is commonplace and may have become a “normal” way of life. Unfortunately the effects of ongoing and prolonged stress can have far reaching detrimental effects, and is linked to many chronic illnesses.

Chronic stress means that our adrenal glands are constantly releasing adrenal hormones, to keep us buoyed. Ongoing stress may lead to raised blood pressure, suppress the immune system, lead to over-eating and weight gain, poor sleep patterns, mood changes and a lack of energy. Unfortunately this can have a snowball effect…no energy may mean you can’t finish tasks, which may lead onto more stress about the failure to finish.

Key stress busting nutrients and tips:

• Vitamin C, Vitamins B5 and B6 and Tyrosine are key vitamins to support healthy adrenal function. Good Health's Stress & Vitaility Support and B Stress Free are great products for helping reduce stress.

• Utilise herbs that help support the nervous system and nourish adrenal function, such as Rhodiola, Withania, Chamomile, Passionflower, Jamaican Dogwood, Californian Poppy, Siberian
Ginseng and Liquorice.

• 5HTP – to support nervous system function and stress resistance. 5HTP supports healthy levels of our feel good brain chemical serotonin.

• Exercise - exercising daily gives you guaranteed ‘me’ time to help support healthy stress levels and emotional wellbeing

• Sunshine – taking time out and enjoying the sunshine can improve ones mood and wellbeing partly due to the Vitamin D.

• Bathe with purpose - have a bath with relaxing essential oils such as lavender, bergamot or Lemon balm. • Quiet time - Find a quiet spot without interruptions to meditate or read your favourite magazine or novel

• Laugh – watch your favourite comedy movie / meet up with friends that make you laugh. Laughing leads to a natural increase of serotonin.

In summary – taking some time out, even if for just 20 minutes each day, along with providing your body with the right nutrients, will ensure you live a healthier, happier lifestyle and stave off the detrimental effects of prolonged stress.

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Not all products recommended may be available in South Africa at this time