Stress & how to manage it
Stress is caused by a situation that triggers a particular biological response. When you perceive a threat or a major challenge, certain chemicals and hormones surge throughout your body.
Stress triggers your fight-or-flight response in order to fight the 'stressor' or run away from it. Typically, after the response occurs, your body should relax. Too much constant stress can have negative effects on your long-term health.
The science behind stress
When you sense danger, the part of your brain called the hypothalamus reacts. It sends nerve and hormone signals to your adrenal glands, which release the hormones cortisol in to your system.
These hormones are nature’s way of preparing you to face danger and increase your chances of survival.
Adrenaline also referred to in main stream literature as 'epinephrine' causes the 'fight-or-flight' response. When this hormone is released it:
increases your heartbeat
increases your breathing rate
makes it easier for your muscles to use glucose
contracts blood vessels so blood is directed to the muscles
inhibits insulin production
While this is helpful in the moment, frequent adrenaline surges can lead to:
damaged blood vessels
high blood pressure, or hypertension
higher risk of heart attack and stroke
Factors that may lower stress
Remember that it’s natural and healthy for the stress response to be activated moderately and for a short time. Issues usually arise when activation becomes chronic.
If your goal is to improve extreme stress-related issues – including those of panic disorders or anxiety – it’s important to talk to your doctor, especially if stress is significantly impacting your daily life.
Major mental changes, such as excessive sadness, panic, persistent low mood, euphoria, or anxiety, are all reasons to see a doctor.
Positive social encounters
Spending time in nature
Being physically active
Avoid excessive stimulant intake e.g. coffee
Limit alcohol consumption as much as possible
EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique)
Napping after sleep loss
Vagus nerve stimulation
Salmon and other fatty fish high in omega 3's
* The Supplements highlighted in bold are the strongest I've personally found to combat stress
Black Cumin Seed Oil
St John’s Wort
Aromatherapy (orange essential oil)