Actions on Stress
Stress is such a commonly used word, but what does it really mean? How does stress affect us and what can we do about it. Stress can be the cause of so many health conditions, lost days of work, irritability with those we love, and general unhappiness. Certain herbs, vitamins, minerals and techniques can help calm your body so you are better able to deal with the stresses that come your way.
Some of the more common symptoms of stress are: fatigue, headaches, irritability, stomach aches, heartburn, rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, cramping, indigestion, insomnia, food reactions, hives, weight gain, weight loss, and lowered immune function. Stress can effect any one in any part of the body as we all deal with life differently; we all hold our stress in different parts of our body.
Some supplements that can be useful for stress are: The B vitamins (B complex), vitamin C, Calcium-Magnesium, and EFA’s (essential fatty acids). EFA’s are oils like, flax, fish and 3-6-9 oil; they are the "good fats". Many essential nutrients are depleted when we are stressed, especially Magnesium. This mineral helps to calm the muscles and nerves, making you less jumpy, less quick to anger, while reducing cramping and chocolate cravings. Dark Chocolate is a great source of Magnesium. There are many great herbs you can take for stress: St John’s Wort, Kava Kava, 5-HTP and more; do not take any of these three if on an anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication. Ashwagandha and L-Theanine, from Green Tea is great for anxiety as well. Homeopathic remedies can also work well. Remedies such as, Calms Forte, Rescue Remedy by Bach Flower are good for calming during a crisis; Coffea Cruda works to help shut off your mind so you can sleep.
There are many techniques we can use for stress: deep breathing, time out, counting, walking, a hobby, talking to a friend, exercise, watching a funny movie, dancing, singing and meditation. Deep breathing is practiced by expanding the whole torso while breathing in, filling the lungs with air, and then releasing it slowly. Take a class or read a book to help learn a hobby, meditation or an attitude change. Learn to release anger in a healthy productive way. Get a pet. Spending time with a pet has been shown to lower blood pressure, increase immune and a sense of well being. A cat’s purring is on the right decibel for healing, yet we are still trying to understand how they purr.
Watch your diet. Too much caffeine, sugar and white flour products (which immediately turn to sugar in the body) can make you tense and irritable. Going without food for hours causes your blood sugar to drop, making you light headed, nauseous and irritable. Eat more fruits, veggies, whole grains, efa’s and good quality proteins. Drink more pure water.
Our genetics determine the form of disease and what part of the body is affected. Diet, and the amount of stress and how we let that stress affect us, determines whether we develop that disease. If we cannot change the stress, we have to learn how to live with it. You can learn to be happy while dealing with the everyday stress of life.
*Caution, only use Omega 3 (not a supplement containing Omega 6) if you are pregnant.
*Consult your pharmacist or doctor if on blood thinners, or other medications.
*Please always take Calcium with Magnesium and other supplements that help calcium absorb.
*St John's wort can take a couple weeks to kick in, and can make you more sensitive to sunburn.
Yoga is Wonderful
I always thought that Yoga was too slow for me. I remember watching my mother do Yoga as a child, but I never thought about doing Yoga myself. Last year, when I was 42 years old, I felt it was time for me to try Yoga, so I did.
I remember the first time I tried it; I turned on the DVD and started my new exercise routine and soon I was almost falling asleep. As a single parent, I had to be home most nights, so this is why I bought a DVD instead of attending a class. I am that person that people say “relax” to and here I found myself almost falling asleep very soon into my Yoga DVD, not from boredom, but from actually being relaxed. I was amazed at how fast a few Yoga stretches and breathing did this to me.
After I had been doing Yoga for a few weeks, at 20-30 minutes a night, I found I was becoming more flexible, toned and relaxed.The benefits of Yoga are:
· Increased flexibility
· Increased strength
· Increased relaxation
· Deeper breathing
· Improved circulation
· Better sleep
· Quiets the mind
· Reduces stress
· Improves the health of your Organs
· Balances the Mind, Body and Spirit
· More Oxygen to your cells
The practice of Yoga has been around for centuries; the word Yoga can be translated to mean “to center one’s thoughts”. It is a union that harmonizes the body, breath, mind and spirit.
At first, some of the poses can be difficult, even the beginner poses, but after a while you will get more strength and flexibility and Yoga will become easier. So stick with it and only do what your body will allow you to do, don’t strain yourself.
The Breath is very important in Yoga, so you should stay conscious of your breathing. Make sure you are expanding the stomach, the sides and the chest, without raising the shoulders. Breathe in through the nose while opening, expanding or lifting the body, exhale while releasing, closing or lowering the body. Concentrating on your breath will help quiet the mind and also keep you present in the moment. As Eckhart Tolle says “The present moment is all we have”.
One of the most popular poses in Yoga is: “Child Pose”, it is a great one for releasing tension and stretching the back. Here are some other poses:
. Here are some other poses:
· Cat Pose
· Cobra Pose
· Warrior II
· Sun Salutation
· Downward Facing Dog
Recent studies have found that people who practiced Yoga for one hour had a 27% increase in GABA, a neurotransmitter; GABA helps elevate mood and calm anxiety.
Heart Disease is also helped by practicing Yoga; experts say it improves the lining of the blood vessels and reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
A study done in San Francisco found that women who took Yoga classes for two months had a 30% reduction in Hot Flashes. Another study at the University of Illinois found that many women who took a 90 minute twice weekly Yoga class experienced less anxiety, stress and pain, while feeling a boost in energy and mood.
There are also studies done on Yoga and back pain; I know that Yoga has helped with my back pain. Use caution as you do need to be careful if you have a back injury, as you can hurt your back by doing Yoga poses that are too difficult and advanced for your condition.
So start some Yoga today………even a few minutes in the morning and or the evening can make a big difference.