Mental and emotional pressures from work, relationships and money can all disrupt the balance of hormones that help to protect the body from stress. In the run up to National Stress Awareness Day on Wednesday 14th November, the International Stress Management Association (ISMA) is striving to improve the nation’s knowledge and understanding of stress.
Changes to diet, sleeping habits and activity levels can all contribute to reduced stress levels. Prolonged exposure to stress depletes the body of essential nutrients. In order to combat stress it is essential that these are replenished through a balanced diet. Supplementation with essential vitamins and minerals can also offer added protection. CLICK HERE to buy stress relieving nutritional supplements online.
People react to stress in different ways so there are many different symptoms that can occur. Prolonged stress can affect the way people think, feel and behave. Some of the more common symptoms to look out for are:
- Disrupted sleep patterns
- Loss of appetite
- Lack of concentration
- Feelings of anxiety, depression, or low self esteem
- Muscle tension
- Headaches or dizziness
- High blood pressure
Causes of Stress
When the body is exposed to stress the adrenal glands release the hormone cortisol. This is often termed the ‘stress hormone’. Cortisol helps the body respond to stress by releasing a quick burst of energy, lowering sensitivity to pain, and supporting the immune system. This is our ‘fight or flight’ response. As the body relaxes, the levels of cortisol in the bloodstream reduce, returning the body to a balanced state. However, if stress levels remain high over a prolonged period of time, cortisol remains in the blood stream and causes damage to body and mind.
A common cause of stress is a busy lifestyle that leaves insufficient time to relax and sleep. This can cause further problems regarding money, work and relationships. Other health conditions and anxiety can also contribute to high stress levels.
How to Deal with Stress
It is important to recognise the symptoms of stress early to prevent it causing serious health complications in the future. Many people find that trying to establish a routine to get rid of tension can help to reduce symptoms.
- Exercise regularly: being active helps to relieve tension in the body. Daily exercise can also help to promote deep quality sleep at night.
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables: vitamins and minerals play a vital role in protecting the body from the damaging effects of stress. Fruits and vegetables offer many different essential nutrients.
- Relaxation techniques: enjoying a warm bath with stress relieving essential oils can aid relaxation. Many people also find socialising with friends or family can offer a useful distraction from stress.
- Talk through the issues: talking issues through with family, friends or colleagues can help to establish the causes of stress and bring about solutions.
- Nutritional supplements: a balanced diet is the most effective way to ensure the body receives essential vitamins and minerals. However, supplements can offer valuable protection by ensuring there are no gaps in nutrition.
Nutritional Supplements for Stress Relief
Magnesium: also known as the anti-stress mineral, magnesium helps to balance the electrolyte balance in the body. This is essential for the healthy functioning of all cells in the body. Magnesium can also help to reduce feelings of tiredness or fatigue and improve electrical activity in the brain.
Vitamin B Complex: B vitamins are valuable in aiding the body’s recovery processes as they help to balance neurotransmitters in the brain. Stress depletes the body of vitamin B. Many of the 8 essential B vitamins are water soluble and so can not be stored in the body. Therefore supplies need to be replenished daily.
Vitamin C & Bioflavonoids: studies suggest that high levels of vitamin c can help to reduce the physical and psychological signs of stress. It is believed that vitamin C may help to regulate the adrenal glands and the release of cortisol in the body.
Zinc: an essential mineral that is required by the body to maintain healthy hormone levels. Studies have shown that low levels of zinc can exacerbate the effect stress has on the body and hinder its recovery.
Quiz: Are you stressed? Take this short quiz to discover how stressed you really are.
Nutrition to boost your mood: Serotonin is the brain’s feel-good neurotransmitter and promotes feelings of wellbeing, resilience, calm, relaxation, and concentration.
Spotlight on Siberian Ginseng: This herb is popularly used to improve the body’s ability to adapt to physical and mental stress.