5 things you should know about stress
1) What is Stress? Web MD defines stress as “the body's reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. The body reacts to these changes with physical, mental, and emotional responses.”1 This definition of stress reveals how complex and far reaching stress can be.
2) What are Stress Triggers? From physical to mental to emotional, the potential triggers are numerous. In the physical realm, it might be lack of sleep, over exertion, injuries and even exposure to viruses and other infectious agents. Mental and Emotional stresses are often thought of as the same, but in reality they are two unique things. Mental stresses are in the scope of the mind and can happen with thought processes like worry and anxiety. Whereas, emotional stresses have more to do with a reaction to news or stimulus, like anger, guilt and loneliness. Emotional stress can contribute to mental stress, and mental stresses can certainly trigger emotional stress.
3) Not all stress is bad. No discussion of stress would be complete without mentioning that some stress may actually be a good thing, so avoiding stress triggers is not necessarily the answer. We know that controlled physical stress from exercise leads to improved physical and mental health. Additionally, a recent review of scientific research led to the conclusion that short term stressful situations can improve immune function, rather than suppress it. This results from the release of hormones that provide the body with an energy burst, but remember that these benefits do not apply to chronic stress.
4) Why Stress Matters. When considering the topic of stress it’s important to distinguish between “Acute” stress and “Chronic” stress. Healthline defines acute stress as “your body’s immediate reaction to a new challenge, event or demand,” while chronic stress happens if those situations are not resolved and allowed to persist for long periods of time.4 Both long term and situational stresses can cause more serious mental illness. We also know it impacts our physical well-being. Web MD reports that stress can contribute to headaches, high blood pressure, heart disease, skin problems and even diabetes. 75-90% of all doctor’s office visits are related to stress and 43% of all adults suffer from the adverse effects of stress.
5) What to do for stress. For most of us, stress is unavoidable, so the key to optimal health may lie in managing stress. First, if you suspect that you suffer from chronic stress, or a more serious mental illness, seek help from your doctor or another health care professional who specializes in these matters. Keeping it simple, for acute stress, try and recognize what your stress triggers are. Then make a conscious effort not to "over do it". Take frequent breaks to try and limit stress to small doses. Exercise regularly, but within your limitations and give your body time to recoup. Get plenty of rest, eat nutritious foods more so than not, and use homeopathic remedies to address symptoms as needed. For a more comprehensive guide to managing stress, we like Help Guide's 6 Step Strategy to Stress Management.
Top 5 Remedies for Stress Management
1. If you’re suffering from anxiety, try Arsenica Album
Anxious, isolated, lonely, even afraid of the dark? Arsenica Album may offer relief. Prepared by diluting arsenica trioxide until little or no actual arsenic remains, this classic homeopathic tonic—considered one of the 15 most important remedies in the homeopathic community—is used for worry, restlessness, insecurity and the distress that often arrives with perfectionism. Bonus points: Arsenica Album can also be used to help manage the symptoms of food poisoning.
2. If you’re enduring PMS-related stress, try Pulsatilla
From belly bloat and weepiness to fatigue and cramps, we women know that PMS can do a number on us. Pulsatilla may soothe the symptoms that arrive with menstruation. Derived from Pulsatilla—a genus that contains 40 species of herbaceous perennials native to Asia, Europe, and North America—this homeopathic remedy “contains chemicals that might be able to fight pain and bacteria,” WebMD reports. What’s more, homeopaths believe that it can be especially helpful for girls who have recently started their periods
3. If you’re feeling anger arise from stress, try Nux Vomica
The name may sound terrible, but Nux Vomica is a cornerstone of the homeopathic movement. Drawn from an evergreen tree that’s endemic to Australia and Southeastern Asia, Nux Vomica is used to support anger control and management. Further, it’s used to help with anxiety-induced headaches and sleeplessness—one of the most common side effects of stress. And if you’ve been called a workaholic at some point (hello, even more stress), know that Nux Vomica may be right for you too: It’s recommended to those who tend to overdo it, in and out of the workplace.
4. If you’re prone to panic attacks or sudden bursts of anxiety, try Aconite
Monkshood, wolf’s bane, devil’s helmet, queen of poisons, blue rocket—Aconitum, or “Aconite,” has many names. This homeopathic remedy, from a genus that includes 250 species of flowering plants belonging to the Ranunculacaeae family, is a leading choice for acute conditions, such as “intense, sudden anxiety, panic or fear,” Healthline reports, the symptoms of which can range from dry skin to a fast pulse. A particularly good choice for those who have dealt with trauma, Aconite can also be used when a fever strikes.
5. If you’re too stressed to focus, try Phosphorous
Happen to be an extrovert who, despite loving your social circle, you often find yourself scattered? Consider phosphorous. Suggested to those whose distracted thoughts overwhelm them, it’s particularly helpful for people who feel a need for approval in social circles or from their romantic partners. (Which, let’s face it, is nearly the lot of us.) It’s also used to help treat a number of symptoms associated with anxiety, including exhaustion, headaches and insomnia. And with a better night’s sleep, well, nearly all stress may be surmountable.
1The Effects of Stress on Your Body, Available online at Web MD - http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/effects-of-stress-on-your-body
27 Kinds of Stress, Elson Haas, MD Available online at Care2.com http://www.care2.com/greenliving/7-kinds-of-stress.html
3Stress is not all bad, Available online at Health Status http://www.healthstatus.com/health_blog/depression-stress-anxiety/stress-is-not-all-bad-it-may-boost-immune-system/