Stress is a part of everyday life and it is considered by leading authorities to be healthy to be faced with some stress as long as it is of short duration. What may be considered by one individual to be stressful may not be to another so it is all a matter of what one perceives to be a stressor. Unfortunately the problem is that these days stress is becoming more chronic in nature as our lifestyles become busier with less “free time” to nurture one’s inner self with indulgences such as stopping to smell the roses or having time out for that cup of tea or coffee or perhaps visiting a friend. We have all becomes slaves to the clock as time becomes our enemy and the sense of urgency to “get things done” in the day takes over.
During the 1930’s a prominent Endocrinologist by the name of Dr Hans Selye pioneered “The Stress Response” and this is still being taught in medical schools to this day. Essentially what this refers to is the very fact that when we are confronted with a stressful situation the human being is faced with the choice of either “fighting” or literally running away (“flight”) in order to live another day. This kind of choice was great when dinosaurs roamed the planet because it meant that one could relatively quickly expell all that pent up nervous stressful energy in either staying to fight the wild beast or running away.
Stress produces a biological response which is harmless in acute situations but in today’s modern world stress is more of a chronic nature which poses many health problems. For instance chronic stress places a tremendous strain on many bodily organs particularly the heart, blood vessels, adrenal glands and the immune system. Dealing with stress on a daily basis has become a major health problem and more importantly the opportunity to release this pent up stress from the body has diminished because it is socially unacceptable to “fight” or flight” when confronted with stress in modern society.
Negative Coping Patterns
Most people develop patterns for coping with stress and unfortunately they often do not support good health . Some of these are listed below;
- Dependence on alcohol, smoking, illicit and legal drugs.
- Emotional outburst or fits of anger.
- Excessive behaviour including overspending.
In order to deal with stress effectively negative coping patterns must be identified and replaced with positive ways of dealing with chronic stress.
Natural Treatment Of Stress
At Mother Natures Pharmacy located in the heart of Adelaide’s CBD we see many patients who would prefer using Natural Treatments and Natural Medicine to deal effectively with stress. Over the years we have found the following measures to be very effective.
1. Relaxation Exercises
Relaxation exercises are utilized for quieting the mind and body with the ultimate goal to provide a physiological response known as the relaxation response which of course is the exact opposite to the stress response. Modalities such as yoga, prayer, meditation or even a hobby which you enjoy doing such as gardening, pottery, etc.
One of the most effective ways to minimize stress and increase energy as well as vitality in the body is by breathing with your diaphragm which will produce deep relaxation when performed properly.
2. Lifestyle Factors
One of the biggest stressors for most people is time or more specifically the lack of it.
Try to organize your day a little better and create a plan to set priorities and realize that you can only accomplish so much in a day. It should be remembered that work done under pressure of a deadline often requires to be redone hence creating more pressure. Do not be a perfectionist, you can never really achieve perfection so just do your level best in the amount of time available to you.
Interpersonal relationship issues whether they be marital, family or job related are another major cause of stress. Learning to L I S T E N and communicate effectively will reduce stress and conflicts in any relationship.
The immediate effect of exercise is to cause stress upon the body. However with regular exercise on a basis of three times weekly the body adapts and in time becomes stronger, functions more efficiently and has greater endurance. It also has the added benefit of counteracting stress particularly in blood type O individuals.
Exercise is a vital component of any comprehensive program of stress management as well as promoting good health.
4. Healthful Diet
People who suffer from stress and or anxiety need to adjust their diets so that they eliminate or at least restrict the intake of often addictive “foods” such as caffeine, alcohol and especially refined carbohydrates.
The consumption of regular meals in a relaxed environment promotes well being and reduces stress. If food allergies or food sensitivities are involved these need to be discovered and eliminated from the diet all together.
5. Herbal Medicine and Nutritional Supplements
During times of chronic stress a number of key nutrients are required for adrenal support such as Vitamin C, Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid),Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), zinc and magnesium. These nutrients especially tend to plummet during times of chronic stress and need replenishment.
At Mother Natures Pharmacy we utilize general herbal tonics personally tailor made for you based upon your individual circumstances and clinical profile. Many of these tonics include “adaptogens”. These are substances which increase your resistance to stress whether it be of a physical, emotional, environmental or biological nature.