Let’s talk about stress, baby.
Let’s talk about you and me.
Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be.
Let’s talk about stress.
Let’s face it, in today’s world, stress has become more prevalent due to the high demands put on us by work, family and lifestyle. So I figured the best way to decrease it, is to talk about it. What stresses effect our lives and what we can do about it to make our lives less stressful, more enjoyable and more healthy.
What is Stress?
Stress is our reaction to our external environment as well as as out inner thought and feelings. Stress is our body’s natural response to dangers – Fight or Flight.
Every person young and old, has been under stress at some point or is currently under some stress in their lives. And this stress can generate symptoms and disease by bringing changes in our immune system, hormone changes and biochemical reactions which then effects how we feel. Bring on the Fight or Flight response. See below.
Types of Stress
- Physical Stress – exercise, hard labor
- Chemical Stress – exposure to pesticides, cleaning supplies, drugs, alcohol, caffeine and nicotine
- Mental Stress – high demand responsibilities, perfectionism, anxiety and worry
- Emotional Stress – anger, fear, sadness, betrayal
- Nutritional Stress – vitamin and mineral deficiencies, fat excesses, food allergies
- Traumatic Stress – infection, injury, surgery, extreme temperatures
- Psycho-Spiritual Stress – relationship, finance pressures, issues of life, general state of happiness
The best way to avoid stress is to avoid these above stressors BUT that is literally impossible in today’s world. So instead we should engage in a variety of stress related activities to minimize the damage that stress does on out bodies.
Various Therapies for Stress
- Have More Fun! – Do things that you enjoy to help you relax. Self care is our friend!
- Express Your Feelings – Emotions need venting. Find a good friend, family member or professional to help you express your emotions
- Get Good Sleep – 8 hours of sleep, uninterrupted is best (but let’s be realistic, in the days of perimenopause and menopause uninterrupted sleep is as common as a unicorn!!). But napping works to.
- Learn relaxation techniques – Yoga or meditation. A quiet place where nothing is happening to let go and experience moments of inner peace. On that note, make sure you read Christine’s post – Learning to Meditate
- Exercise – regular physical exercise (whatever you may choose) is one of the best ways to clear your tensions, feel good, with more energy.
- Good Relationships – find a great friend group or an amazing friend whom you can confide in and find support. Those who love and accept you will advise but not judge you are your true friends. This is also true of relationships with a spouse or life partner. A primary relationship that is loving, sensual and sexual can also be a major stress reliever.
- Nutrition and Diet – a diet of high nutrient foods is essential for people under stress because stress increases our cellular activity which leads to increase nutrient use and therefore nutrient depletion if we do not replenish. Lots of water to keep us well hydrated and some supplementation also helps.
- Supplementation – Vitamin C and B vitamins are essential for stress management. These vitamins are water soluble and we do not store them, so we use them and lose them and must replenish. Vitamin C is the single most essential antistress vitamin. It is used in cellular protection, immune support and adrenal support to produce more cortisone and epinephrine (hormones used during the flight or fight response). Magnesium is a very important mineral for anti stress as well. Magnesium is a calming mineral that help balance the nervous system and supports heart function. and any people are unaware that they are deficient in magnesium. These vitamins/minerals are very easy to include in a balanced diet of high nutrient foods but you can also supplement.
Health professionals are beginning to realize how much stress affects our physical and emotional wellbeing. The list of symptoms and diseases is over whelming. Little lifestyle changes can make BIG differences. And sometimes we need to learn to let go of the triggers of stress, whatever that maybe in your life.
If stress has played or is playing a major factor in your life, please talk to a health care professional or psychologist/life coach to help you with more tools to manage stress. For more reading on recognizing and reducing stress – Here is link to the Heart and Stroke Association. Reduce Stress.
Maybe we all need to say a little mantra every morning….
**references: Staying Health with Nutrition – Elson M Haas**