What is stress?

Stress is a reaction to any stimulus that disturbs our physical or mental equilibrium. Under stress, our body triggers the ‘fight-or-flight’ response, causing hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol to surge through the body. We usually make use of the term “stressed out” when we feel that things have become too much for us to handle.

Everyone feels stressed from time to time. Major life changes, financial difficulties, having a disagreement with a colleague or loved one, making an important business presentation, organising an event, going for a job interview, casting your votes during your nation’s General Election and waiting for the results later, are amongst many things that can be sources of stress. Worrying excessively about something that may or may not happen, having unrealistic or irrational expectations, and entertaining pessimistic thoughts about life, can also cause stress and anxiety.

Not all stress is bad, however. Stress within our comfort zone can help us stay focused and keep us active and alert. But when stress becomes overwhelming, it can shut down our ability to think, feel and act rationally as well as impair our body’s self-repair abilities. Long-term, chronic stress can have detrimental effects on both physical and mental health. It can raise blood pressure, suppress the immune system, increase the risk of strokes and heart attacks, and speed up the aging process. It can leave us vulnerable to a host of mental and emotional problems. It can also affect our productivity, our relationships, and our quality of life.

In fact, according to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress is linked to the six leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide. And more than 75 percent of all physician office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.

You can protect yourself by taking steps to reduce the harmful effects of stress overload:

Exercise

Exercise has been confirmed to have a valuable impact on an individual’s overall health and sense of well-being, and exercise also has some direct stress-busting benefits.

It increases endorphins. Exercise helps increase the production of endorphins, the brain’s feel-good hormones.

It is a healthy distraction. The day’s irritations are forgotten once the body’s movements in exercise become the point of focus. As daily tensions are being released through movement and physical activity, the resulting energy and optimism, can bring about calmness and clarity.

It improves your mood. Exercise increases self-confidence, relaxes you, and lowers symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. Exercise also improves your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression and anxiety. These benefits from exercise ease stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and life.

Personal Time

Set aside some time each day just to be on your own, to relax, or to pursue your own interests.

Unplug regularly.

“Unplugging” for a bit may be a solution especially if it is a work or personal relationship that has you stressed. Consider a 24-48 hour break from all forms of electronics and social media.

A 2011 study showed that detaching from work-related communication during non-work time has a positive effect on employee’s recovery and health.

Connect with nature. A hike or a day at the beach may be therapeutic enough to reduce stress from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Supplementation

ImmuFlora contains probiotics that may help reduce stress-related behavior and anxiety.

B vitamins are important for optimal mental wellness and stress management. B vitamins are water soluble and need to be replenished daily. Taking a B-complex vitamin, which contains most of the significant B vitamins, may be one of the more effective alternatives to help your body manage stress better. Stress can negatively affect your digestive and metabolic process, whereas an excellent B-complex vitamin can help improve your digestive metabolic processes.

Niacin, also called vitamin B3, is required for DNA repair work as well as energy metabolism within the body. A solid property of niacin is its ability to relax muscle tissue composing arteries, thus increasing their size. This process, called vasodilation, brings about increased blood flow and reduced blood pressure. Niacin is an antidote to adrenaline, which is frequently over-produced in people experiencing stress and anxiety. It is claimed by some that niacin reduces stress and anxiety and also depression, while promoting calmness and also better rest.

Calcium Complex with Boron contains Magnesium, which is a calming mineral. It regulates the nervous system and helps relieve anxiety, fear, nervousness, restlessness and irritability.

Kelp is a type of seaweed rich in trace elements. Besides iodine, Kelp contains 22 known minerals and other trace elements. It is a great source of magnesium and tryptophan. Kelp plays an important role in the production of anti-stress hormones and may be helpful for relieving depression, anxiety and insomnia.

Vitamin C: Studies have shown that people with high levels of vitamin C do not exhibit the expected mental and physical signs of stress. Furthermore, they bounce back from stressful situations much faster than people with low levels of vitamin C.

Chamomile Tea: Studies show that chamomile can be effective in calming the body which in turn helps with anxiety, stress and insomnia.

Nutrition

Having a healthy and well balanced diet plan is extremely important as certain types of food can provide the necessary nutrients that help relieve stress.

Yoghurt: There is a clear connection between the amount of probiotics in our GI tract and our mental health. Homemade yoghurt contains probiotics that help increase serotonin production. 95% of our serotonin, a “happiness” hormone similar to endorphins, is produced in our GI tract.

Avocados: Food rich in magnesium such as avocados, bananas, black beans and dark chocolate can have a calming effect. These foods help ease our minds during stressful times by nourishing our nervous system, while balancing our blood pressure and sugar levels.

Leafy vegetables: Dark, leafy greens contain the same amount of calcium as milk. Calcium is an essential mineral that helps us absorb Vitamin D, which promotes happiness.

Complex carbohydrates: A diet rich in complex carbohydrates like oatmeal, sweet potatoes and potatoes can help support more stable blood sugar levels, which may help to reduce mood swings. They also provide your body with B vitamins and magnesium.

Supplements mentioned can be purchased at Pure Detox.