August 13 2018
Stress is such a big topic as it ties into so many other issues. When speaking with people, most of them have an innate awareness that whatever issue they are experiencing in some real way relates to stress. And often, I couldn’t agree more. I find that with most health concerns be it: migraines, insomnia, pain, digestional upset, hormonal & of course anxiety/depression – there is a combination of factors that led to it but stress is indeed involved. That is why I appreciate how naturopathic medicine can take a multi-pronged approach addressing each layer as needed. If someone catches a cold after a stressful period; we may do some things to fight the infection but also to calm the stress response.
Rarely, if ever, do people come into my office with simply the chief concern of stress, but almost everyone can recognize in the ways in plays a role in there symptoms & overall wellbeing. That is why I wanted to talk about some tangible ways to decrease stress or atleast change your attitude around it & help you feel you again.
First off, you may be thinking, is stress all that bad? This is a good question because as it turns out the bigger predictor of how “bad” stress is on your body is your actual BELIEF of whether stress has a negative impact. How you THINK about stress matters. I HIGHLY recommend watching Kelly McGonigal’s ted talk as she speaks to this topic. Research has found that indeed stressful events like financial struggle or family crisis lead to negative health outcomes but that was more so related to whether that person viewed their stress as harmful. Bottom line here being that if you saw your stress response (beating heart, sweating palms etc. as an effort of your body to rise up & meet challenges with courage instead of some terrible thing that is happening to you, you’d be much better off and statistically have no to little negative impact of stress on your body. Additionally, being socially connected to others either being helped or helping others created NO stress-related causes of dying.
6 Simple Tips for Stress
- First off, ACKNOWLEDGE when you are indeed stressed. Let yourself feel the heart beating, feel the muscles tighten & blood pump. So often I hear, I don’t notice when I’m stressed; a part of being emotionally intelligent is knowing what we are feeling when we are feeling it.
- View it as your body trying to HELP you. Change the way you think of stress. Yes, it can be harmful but research has proven that is more so if you yourself see it that way. If you notice the stress & tension building, say to yourself: “Thank you body for rising up to help me meet this challenge”.
- Don’t be afraid to take BREAKS. Often when we come across a stressful event whether that be sitting in traffic or a job interview, one of the biggest factors is the duration or that event. Our body can & will rise to meet challenges, but it needs time to recover, so giving you mind & body a real break between challenges is key. This also builds confidence in yourself to meet each challenge.
- Lean into life. TRUST yourself to handle what comes.The more we can get our mind & heart on board with our choices, the better our physiology & the greater the prevention of disease
- Eat meals regularly to ensure you are giving your BODY what it needs to rise up & meet challenges. Ideally, include a good source of protein with every meal(for example, nuts/seeds, organic meats, eggs, quinoa, lentils/beans/legumes).
- Take stock of your ENERGY. Locate the energy robbers. List everything & everyone in your daily life that robs you of energy. And visa versa those people & things that feed you. Adjust life accordingly.
Supplements for Stress
- B Complex: Energy boosting vitamin, great for stress.
- Vitamin C: Used in the production of cortisol which is our stress hormone.
- Adaptogen herbs (like rhodiola, withania, licorice or holy basil): Helps our body cope & adapt to stress by working with cortisol pathway and/or feel good neurotransmitters.
- Calming Herbs (like chamomile, lavender, lemon balm, passionflower)
- Magnesium: Crucial nutrient for all things related to muscle tension, stress response, neurotransmitter & hormone production as well as detox.
We will never be able to avoid stressful things in our life. Perhaps a more sustainable approach is to change the way we view it while managing exposure. Our hearts & spirits want us to be courageous & take risks and stress is a part of that territory. When we view our stress response as our bodies effort to rise to challenge we change our biology around stress to one of courage not burden.
Information above is not a substitute for medical advice and is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. Please seek medical advice before implementing changes to your own life.