Have you ever been so overwhelmed by the things going on in your life that you felt almost helpless? Perhaps you have a project at work that’s facing a deadline, or you just can’t seem to get the cleaning, laundry, and grocery shopping done AND pick up the kids by 4:00. Even the little things like preparing for a vacation can cause feelings of anxiety.
What you are experiencing is stress, and you’re definitely not alone. In fact, millions of people around the world experience stress. But unfortunately for some it has become a considerable health risk.
What is Stress?
Stress is defined as a life disruption caused by mental, physical, or anatomical symptoms. Persistent and prolonged stress can cause depression, anxiety and other serious health conditions such as heart disease and stroke. Some of the most common factors that can create stress are multiple life events in a short time span, increased responsibility, work demands, conflict in personal relationships and insufficient sleep. Understanding how to reduce the stress in your life is important to your overall well-being and to the prevention of several serious health conditions.
To start managing your stress, attempt to isolate the cause. What in your life is contributing to your increased levels of stress? Once you have determined the causes for your stress, look for ways that you can minimize them. Depending on the cause, you may be able to reduce or even remove them from your life. The next step is to make healthy lifestyle changes.
Some of the stress-reducing lifestyle changes you should consider are:
• Stop smoking
• Exercise regularly- 3-5 times per week
• Limit your alcohol intake
• Maintain a healthy diet by including vegetables, fruits and low-fat protein
• Practice positive thinking on a daily basis
• Get a better night’s sleep
• Focus on the present, not constantly on the past or the future
• Ask for help from a professional
A Natural Approach
There are several natural supplements that you can also add into your diet to encourage a more relaxed body state.
B vitamins, especially Vitamin B6 and B12, are effective to regulate the body’s levels of stress. They also help to maintain a healthy central nervous system. These vitamins are prevalent in multiple food types including red meat, tuna, chicken breasts, halibut and bananas. You can also receive 100% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) through the addition of a multi-vitamin supplement to your diet.
Reishi is a common food additive used to treat the effects of stress. The Reishi comes from the mushroom button family and is used to boost energy, promote longevity and to combat stress. Reishi is commonly found in extracts and powders, but is also available in teas, tablets, syrups, tinctures and in your local store to cook with.
Siberian Ginseng is a relative to traditional Ginseng and is widely used as an adaptogen to help the body reduce stress. It was discovered in the 1940’s and can be found in tinctures, tablets and teas to add to your daily routines.
Most forms of tea are helpful with the reduction of stress, but in particular Chamomile has been shown to relax the people who drink it. Hot teas in combination with relaxation and hot baths can help the body to relax.
As all of us become busier in our daily lives, stress also becomes easier to overlook. In fact, it is often called the “silent killer” because its health consequences can sneak up on you and take hold before you even realize it. That’s why it is important to use stress reduction techniques to manage its effects on the body and to prevent the harmful health effects of long term stress.