How do you handle stress? Have you wondered how stress impacts your health?
I am hearing a lot of patients speak of many different stresses lately and how they are or are not coping with it all. It is a combination of anxiety, adrenal fatigue, migraines, fatigue, feeling overwhelmed and mental debility.
When you are in a stressful situation and you need to react, stress acts as the motivator and improves your focus to take action. We have all heard of the flight or fight response where our body gets a sudden burst of energy to allow you to stay and fight the situation or run like hell to remove yourself from the situation. But as we have all suffered some form of stress especially from an emotional trigger such as being stuck in traffic, work deadlines, bad news or the endless phone calls and emails, the hormone cortisol is released from your body. Cortisol is a chemical that allows you to stay in a lively and alert state to be able to handle the stress for long periods of time.
When you have a chronic stress that is poorly managed it can increase many different health risks such as your energy levels such as fatigue, sleep issues such as insomnia, digestive upsets such as IBS, cardiovascular system such as high blood pressure or rate, mental wellbeing such as depression and anxiety and your reproductive system such as hormone regulation and health. This is why we need to maintain your health and ensure balance with regards to how you respond to the stress circumstance.
What can Naturopathy do for you?
Naturopathy is a natural way of life, enabling life to be the best it can possibly be. It is a life full of good health, nutritious foods, healthy lifestyle, pain free and lots of energy. Naturopaths educate their patients on healthy living, how to make the right choices in life and how to be fit and healthy so they can live life to the fullest. Sometimes all it takes is a little motivation and assistance along the way to be feeling great.
Naturopathically we will help you to identify the cause of your stress and how it may be affecting either mentally or physically. Unfortunately, stress is an unavoidable fact of life and it can greatly vary between individuals. Have you ever had a friend that no matter how stressed they are they actually cope really well if not better that normal and have no issues at all then you have this little minor stress and your world comes crashing down around you, you can’t cope and want to curl up in a ball in a locked room. This is why a naturopath will treat every patient individually and devise different treatment plans to suit YOU and only YOU.
We need to help support a healthy mind, great night’s sleep, regulate glucose levels and a good mood. Some things that may be recommended to you in your consultation are
Magnesium is the muscle relaxant and it helps with relaxing the mind and body. Try adding almonds, spinach, sunflower seeds and blackberries to your diet.
Omega 3 essential fatty acids- these can help with the nervous system, healthy brain and memory and a good mood. Try adding avocado, brazil nuts and flaxseeds to your diet.
Protein foods either plant based or animal organic where possible for connective tissues.
The B vitamins will synergise together to support energy production, brain function and a healthy nervous system. Try adding some dark green leafy veg to your diet as well as organic eggs, chicken and seafood.
With adding in all the good you will need to also remove all of the bad or limit as much as you can.
Caffeine beverages and Alcoholic beverages
Sugar and refined carbohydrates
Lifestyle changes, everyone is an individual and no two patients are treated the same. Depending on how long you have suffered with your stress and what symptoms you have will depend on what treatment plan is recommended. Different techniques that can be used are nutritional and supplemental plans, diet and exercise, social influences and herbal medicines.
Some herbs that are truly beneficial for stress are:
Withania somnifera just happens to be my favourite herb, everyone needs a little withania in their life. It has show to reduce the stress hormone cortisol by increasing energy which can reduce the stress emotions. It has a positive influence on endocrine, nervous and cardiovascular systems.
Glycyrrhiza galbra or better know as liquorice (and sorry no not the lolly). It can be used in some cases of low cortisol levels with adrenal exhaustion.
Rehmannia glutinosa is quite a soothing herb which can reduce your stress hormone levels and increase your energy levels.
· Korean ginseng is perfect for reducing the stress feelings, increasing energy and reducing the stress hormone cortisol.
When is the last time that you had a really good belly laugh and how did you feel? When did you last walk on the grass in barefoot and feel the coolness beneath? Sometimes doing something so simple can have a beneficial affect you.
Good health to you
Karyn Campbell | Naturopath | Diamond Creek Natural Medicine Clinic