Stress is a normal response to events that make you feel threatened. We need it so that we can respond to day-to-day pressures and day-to-day events that appear out of nowhere.
What happens when you are stressed?
Your nervous system releases hormones including adrenaline and cortisol.
- the heart to beat faster
- the muscles tighten
- blood pressure rises ,
- breathing speeds up and
- senses sharpen
As a result of the stress responses the body has:
- increased stamina and strength
- improved reaction time
- better focus
- sharpened concentration
- and is now prepared for ‘fight or flight”
- it can also improve the ability to study.
After this response the body is supposed to return to a relaxed state – but what if it doesn’t?
What are the effects of long term stress?
Long term it can lead to serious health problems, effecting each and every system in the body. It also uses up large amounts of nutrients and energy.
It can be caused by external causes such as work commitments, relationship difficulties, financial problems, bullying, death, moving house, birth, marriage etc or by internal causes such as worrying, a busy mind, unrealistic expectations and pain. Lifestyle choices including poor diet, poor digestive functions, too much alcohol, not enough sleep and not taking time to relax add to the burden.
What are the basics of coping with stress?
It is quite simple and is fundamental to good health.
- Exercise on a regular basis can help to re balance hormones released
- Drink plenty of water
- Get 8 hours sleep per night
- Eat a healthy diet that includes seasonally fresh fruit and vegetables, protein with every meal and good fats such as omega 3’s from fish, nuts and seeds
- Relax – identify simple ways that you can take time off and wind down.
- Make time for your favourite pastimes
- Get plenty of fresh air and sunshine (be mindful of sensible sun protection)
- Improve digestion and liver function
- Avoid alcohol, coffee and processed foods.
Here are a few useful tips to help you deal with stress head-on:
- Try to deal with problems head on
- Focus on the things you enjoy
- Try to accept the things that you can’t change
- Be aware of your emotions
- Listen to your favourite music
- Hug a pet
- Enjoy the great outdoors
How can a naturopath help you?
Janne Ramsay works with her clients to help improve health outcomes that have been driven by stress.
- Help to identify the causes of it and address the symptoms
- Advice on the most effective nutrients to support long periods of stress and recovery.
- Support healthy mood, memory and brain function.
- Provide guidelines to improve a healthier diet.
- Recommend individual stress management techniques.
Article by Janne Ramsay, Naturopath