How to reduce and Manage Stress
Love it or loathe it, stress appears to have permanently ensconced itself in contemporary society, with the pre-Christmas period being a particularly intense time for many people. While stress (the body's response to any form of change) is not necessarily a detrimental condition and may be harnessed to increase productivity and performance, studies show that one in three people are reported to experience high levels more than twice-weekly, with an estimated 75-90% of visits to primary care physicians being for stress-related problems.
To fully comprehend the impact of the stress epidemic we need to recall the innate physiological responses our body is programmed to depend on in life threatening situations.
Mediated by increased sympathetic nervous system activity, our initial stress response is known as the "alarm reaction". This involves the automatic shunting away of blood from our digestive tract and skin, with its redirection to our arm and leg muscles for use in combat or escape. Blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing increase to boost oxygen-rich blood flow to the brain and muscles, blood-clotting time speeds up to prevent haemorrhages, and the body's blood sugar levels rise rapidly to provide additional fuel for energy.
Potent hormones produced by our adrenal glands fuel these "fight or flight" survival mechanisms and help the body to sustain high energy levels needed for the physical and mental aspects of emergencies. Indeed it is this response that enables people to lift several times their own weight to rescue a loved one from a car wreck.
Today, however, continual stress is often generated by perceived or psychological threats (worrying), rather than from immediate physical ones. Daily events such as traffic jams, an unrealistic work deadline, misbehaving children, financial and relationship pressures, or dinner with the in-laws can constantly plague our thoughts, initiating the automatic stress response. If adrenal hormone levels remain constantly high over a sustained period of time, the body's organs may be weakened and adrenal exhaustion can occur.
COPYRIGHT_WI: Published on https://washingtonindependent.com/ebv/how-to-reduce-and-manage-stress/ by Susan Murillo on 2021-01-18T19:07:44.717Z
A range of serious health conditions including high blood pressure and strokes, digestive complaints, fatigue and depression, altered thyroid function, and a decreased immune response can manifest as the body enters this exhaustion phase.
A primary consideration when approaching an individual's stress management program is to determine the underlying cause or causes and to encourage them to address these in the first instance, while also implementing nutritional supplementation and lifestyle changes.
Professional counseling or medical treatment may be necessary in cases of chronic and pervasive stress.
The daily addition of a high potency multi vitamin and mineral stress formula that includes Vitamins C, B5, B6, zinc, magnesium and potassium is necessary to support the manufacture of adrenal hormones, with B5 being of particular importance in preventing adrenal atrophy (shrinkage).
Magnesium and potassium are crucial for the maintenance of normal nerve, neuromuscular and cardiovascular functions, with deficiencies exacerbating stress related conditions.
All these nutrients are rapidly depleted by a continually high output of adrenal hormones, a situation that can be compounded by the lifestyle habits (alcohol, coffee, cigarette use) and poor dietary practices often adopted by people laboring under stress.
The resulting toxic overload often compounds the negative effects of over-stress, and contributes to digestive disturbances as well as headaches, fatigue or skin problems. It is important to detoxify and support our major eliminative organs with herbs and nutrients, and to add some digestive enzymes to support correct digestive processes.
Several herbal extracts offer significant benefits to the nervous system and adrenal glands concerning stress management and long-term health. Panax ginseng is a gentle adrenal tonic or "adaptogen" that can improve the body's stress response, assisting with mental alertness and physical stamina, while nervine herbs including passionflower, Jamaican dogwood and skullcap are restorative and soothing, helping alleviate nervous tension and anxiety.
Having focused on the physical aspects of supporting a stressed individual, remember to attend to the emotional angle. Bach flowers are homeopathic strength remedies that gently work on harmonising the emotions and balancing moods. Individual remedies may be selected as indicated or the well-known Rescue Remedy is often used as a general formula to help people cope on an hourly or daily basis.
No two people will experience the same triggers for their stress or manifest the same physical, emotional or psychological warnings that their body is not coping. Stress, an inevitable part of life and change, is often the result of how we each perceive our reality. As the microbiologist Renee Dubos said "...what happens in the mind of man is always reflected in the disease of his body".