Most doctors will tell you that many of today's ailments are caused not by viruses or bacteria but stress. Everyday people are becoming more stressed and not doing anything to minimize it. Whether it's with nutrients or stress relieving techniques, reducing stress will help you live a healthier life.
Although we experience stress all the time, our stress levels are highest when we are under pressure; and it's those high stress levels that do us the most harm over time. There are many healthy and unhealthy ways of dealing with stress. Unhealthy ways of dealing with stress are temporary and, in the long run, can be detrimental to your health. Below is a list of unhealthy ways of dealing with stress that can damage your health and eventually ruin your life:
Using pills (prescription/over the counter) or illegal drugs to relax
Withdrawing from others
Overeating or under-eating
Aggression or physical violence
Here are a few stress-busting nutrients and techniques that you can use on a daily basis to help you reduce stress before it reaches a level that may affect your life, health, and well-being.
Pantothenic Acid -This helps control the action of the adrenal glands, which play a crucial part in the stress response. Some foods enriched in pantothenic acid are cereal grains, legumes, lamb, chicory greens, endives, and mushrooms.
Vitamin C - During stressful times, vitamin C is depleted quickly. Vitamin C deficiency can worsen anxiety and irritability and can lower your immune system. Be sure to load up on vitamin C during stressful times to help give you the extra boost you and your immune system need. Kiwis, oranges, broccoli, sweet bell peppers, and raspberries are just of few fruits and vegetables that are enriched with vitamin C.
Zinc - Zinc is crucial to your well-being. It plays a role in at least 80 different enzyme reactions and is a brain neurotransmitter. Some of the foods that contain Zinc are poultry, whole grains, oysters, and nuts.
Magnesium -Magnesium helps reduce stress by lowering homocysteine levels, which in turn can help lower your risk of stroke, heart disease, cancer, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's disease, and many degenerative diseases. Some good sources of magnesium are brown rice, okra, swiss chard, spinach, and almonds.
Working Out - Exercise perks you up! By exercising, you help reduce the level of stress hormones like cortisol. Physical activity also helps increase endorphins (your body's feel-good chemicals), which can naturally boost your mood and battle depression.
Essential Fatty Acids (EFA) - Your body's cells need a continuous supply of these fatty acids in order to function at their peak. The body uses EFA's to repair membranes and cells, absorb nutrients, get rid of harmful waste from the body, reduce inflammation, and increase the activity of another chemicals derived from endothelial cells (endothelium-derived nitric oxide), which cause arteries to relax and dilate. EFA's also reduce the production of messenger chemicals called cytokines, which are involved in the inflammatory response associated with atherosclerosis. Needless to say, EFA's are essential in maintaining your health and well-being. EFA's are found in foods like salmon, mackeral, sardines, flax seeds, walnuts, leafy green veggies, olive oil, and avocados.
St. John's Wort and Valerian - Both of these herbs have been known to produce a calming effect. Either one is good to help relieve stress. However, it is not recommended that you take Valerian and St. Johns Wort together.
Meditation - Meditation is a powerful antidote to stress. Relaxation techniques such as visualization, progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can help you activate the body's natural relaxation response. When practiced regularly, these relaxation techniques lead to a reduction in your everyday stress levels. These techniques also help you to stay calm and collected in the face of life's unexpected challenges.
Massage - A simple massage can be an immediate stress reliever by reducing tension in your muscles. It's a great way to relax, relieve stress and anxiety, and reduce muscle soreness. A massage can also cause your body to release natural painkillers and boost your immune system. There are few sensual experiences that rival a full body massage for stress relief.
Talking with a Friend or Counselor - When we are stressed, a good way of getting relief is talking with a friend or counselor. Sharing your feelings and problems helps you let go of those things that are causing you turmoil, angst, and tension.
Nourish your body, mind, and spirit everyday, and you will be better able to reduce stress and live a happier and healthier life.
As always, please consult a physician before making any changes to your lifestyle, diet, or wellness program.