There are two kinds of stress. Short-term stress is what you feel when you, say, miss a train, and it can have an energizing effect on your body. Long-term (chronic) stress can damage your health.
Long-term stress is often triggered by serious life events – you may be experiencing financial worries, job pressures, bereavement, or relationship issues. You know the stress is long-term when you have some of the symptoms listed below. Thankfully, there are many natural approaches and coping strategies you can put in place to help you through the worst and overcome chronic stress altogether.
Conventional or Natural?
Most doctors treat the symptoms of stress rather than the underlying cause. Your doctor may offer you medication for, say, depression or high blood pressure. Although the medication may help you feel better in the short term, it won’t solve the stress itself.
For this reason, the natural approach to stress-busting tends to be more effective. Natural medicine is designed to strengthen all your body systems so your stress response becomes more resilient. The following natural therapies can all help you beat stress. Bear in mind, though, that if your life is stressful, you also need to devise strategies to reduce your load. You may need to ask for practical help from someone else, overhaul your lifestyle, or simply find someone to talk to openly. Without positive action, no treatment plan will be as effective as it could be.
The Symptoms of Chronic Stress
If you experience two or more of the following symptoms for three months or more, you may be suffering from chronic stress.
• Sleep problems
• Tension (including neck, head, back, and shoulder pain)
• Digestive disorders
• Hair loss
• High blood pressure
• Chest pain
• Skin problems (such as hives, eczema, psoriasis, and rashes)
• Jaw pain
• Menstrual problems
• Sexual difficulties
• Immune suppression (making you prone to recurrent illness and infections)
• Nervousness, anxiety, and panic attacks
• Depression and moodiness
• Irritability and frustration
• Memory problems and lack of concentration
Follow a healthy, balanced diet plan. Also take into consideration the recommendations for taking care of your adrenal glands, which take a beating as they pump out adrenaline when you’re under stress.
In addition, a stressed body uses up B-vitamins very quickly, so you need to make sure you get enough vitamins B rich foods, such as whole grains, oily fish, eggs, brown rice, beans, sunflower seeds, and nuts.
Antioxidants can help repair the damage stress does to your cells. Try to eat lots of fresh, preferably organic, brightly colored fruits and vegetables. In particular, zinc is an essential antioxidant for any woman with a stressful lifestyle. Your body needs it for cell repair, efficient digestion, strong immunity, and fortified emotional health. You also need zinc for the production of the adrenal hormones. Natural sources of zinc include yeast, eggs, legumes, pumpkin seeds, seafood, and whole grains. A shortage of essential fats (EFAs) has been shown to trigger symptoms of stress, so add plenty of nuts, seeds, and oily fish to your diet.
Bear in mind, too, that unstable blood-sugar levels can trigger symptoms of stress, so follow the expert advice on balancing your blood sugar. Avoid stimulants such as coffee, tea, nicotine, and sugar and keep alcohol intake to a minimum.