What Is Stress

Stress is something that nearly everyone experiences.  Whether it is induced by problems at work, your family, or issues of everyday life, stress is something that can slowly chip away at your health.  Stress can be a symptom of many conditions, but it can also lead to the development of other symptoms like Insomnia, Anxiety, or High Blood Pressure.  It’s necessary to take a step back, a breather, and focus on taking the time to relax and de-stress.    

Signs Of Stress

Symptoms of stress can be emotional, physical, behavioral, or disrupt proper cognitive function.  If you experience certain symptoms in excess, try to take the time to minimize stress so you can lead a healthier life.  Common symptoms are:

  • Inability to Concentrate
  • Poor Memory
  • Anxious or Racing Thoughts
  • Disrupted Sleep Patterns
  • Constant Worrying
  • Aches or Pains
  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Frequent Colds
  • Depleted Sex Drive
  • Procrastination
  • Easily Agitated
  • Inability to Relax
  • Eating More or Less
  • Using Drugs or Alcohol to Relax
  • Nervous Habits (nail biting, stress eating, pacing, or itching) 
What Causes Stress

Stress causes a chemical imbalance in the body.  When one gets stressed, the body over-produces cortisol, which makes your thyroid work extra hard to maintain energy levels.  Stressors, as they are commonly referred to, are what induce Stress. Whether it is an exhausting work schedule, an unsteady relationship, or certain situations, we often consider associate stressors with negativity.  Positive events such as marriage or getting promoted at work can also induce Stress.  Sometimes Stress can be short-term or long-term, that latter of which can lead to severe health problems.  Common causes of Stress are below. 

  • Major Life Changes
  • Work or School
  • Relationship Difficulties
  • Being too Busy
  • Children or Family
  • Financial Struggles
  • Pessimism
  • Chronic Worry
  • Perfectionism (or having unrealistic expectations)
  • Not Being Flexible (being stubborn)

Dherbs Approach...adjusting your diet is always key!

Natural Remedies
  • Meditation is a tool that helps to manage stress.  Practicing the slow breathing to relax helps lower the heart rate, blood pressure, and can improve cognitive performance.  The best way to meditate is to find a quiet, calming space of isolation.  Close your eyes, breathe in through your nose, and hold the breath for 3 seconds before exhaling.  The hardest part about meditation is keeping your mind still.  The natural tendency is to think about ten things at once, but focus on your breath because it helps you relax.  Meditating everyday can improve your mind-body connection.

  • Stress can cause people to eat and crave unhealthy foods.  When you are stressed it’s important to take a second to think about your food choices before indulging in sugary, fatty foods.  Think about whether or not you are actually hungry.  Recognize when you are actually hungry and then eat the right foods, which have calming effects.  Eat a handful of raw nuts, which are rich in magnesium, a mineral that lowers cortisol levels.  It’s important to replenish the body with magnesium-rich foods (avocados, bananas, nuts and seeds, dark leafy greens, black beans, or figs) to keep stress levels down. 

  • Avoid caffeine, processed foods, sugar, alcohol and any unnatural substances.  These kinds of foods and substances tend to stimulate anxiety and often enable your ability to handle the situation at hand.  Eating raw fruits and vegetables provides you with the purest form of the essential nutrients your body needs.  If you are polluting your body with other processed foods and chemicals, then it is more difficult for the body to absorb those nutrients.  
  • Acupuncture, which involves pricking the skin with needles at specific points, has been known to relieve Stress. It doesn’t seem like needles would help decrease Stress, but having them at specific points actually helps neutralize stress hormone levels, which the body secretes into the bloodstream when stressed.  Chinese medicine indicates the body’s energy force, commonly known as chi, regulates overall health.  Acupuncture helps to restore the flow of chi throughout the entire body by the insertion of the needles at specific points. 

  • When you soak in a hot bath your muscles naturally relax in the heat.  A restorative bath can release dopamine, a hormone that combats Stress.  The bathtub is a place of solitude, and a chance for you to focus on nothing.  To help relieve stress even more, add epsom salts or essential oils like lavender, Frankincense, rosewood, or cinnamon to your daily soak.  They have calming, soothing, and medicinal properties that the body absorbs through the skin, which is the largest organ in the body. 

  • Exercising on a daily basis, even if it’s only 30 minutes a day, can help maintain healthy thyroid function, proper metabolism, and balanced hormone levels.  Exercise boosts endorphins, which make you feel happy.  You’ll notice that exercise takes your mind off Stress because you are solely focused on the exercise at hand.  There are restorative and stress-relieving exercises that you can easily practice.  Yoga, tai chi, swimming, Pilates, or even a walk around your neighborhood is not only good for lowering Stress, but it keeps you healthy as well. 

  • Make sleep a priority.  Not getting enough rest can trigger negative brain activity and increase Stress.  A healthy sleeping pattern can help alleviate Stress, providing you with the energy you need for everyday life encounters.
  • Schedule relaxation time.  Most people are so busy with their everyday life activities that they forget to schedule time to just unwind.  It’s a great way to recondition your body.  Relaxation time can consist of anything from vacationing, looking at calming visuals, listening to tranquil sounds, alone time, or even taking a walk can help you relax and forget about your Stress.
Things you should eat
  • Chamomile Tea
  • Blueberries
  • Avocado
  • Bananas
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Acai Berries (powder or dried)
  • Almonds
  • Maca Root
  • Oranges
  • Leafy Green Vegetables (kale, spinach, & Swiss chard)
  • Pine or Brazil Nuts
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Basil
  • Pistachios
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