MANAGING STRESS THROUGH EXCERISE AND NATURAL SUPPLEMENTS
Sometimes you may feel like you can’t control stress in your life. Bills begin to pile up, work and family responsibilities take a demanding toll on your mental well being and sometimes you may feel like there is just not enough hours in the day to complete your tasks that need to be addressed. However, there is a solution! How? Taking charge of your stress through stress management and natural supplements. By managing your emotions, lifestyle, thoughts and executing different methods of problem solving can significantly reduce your stress level and help regain control of stressful situations in your life.
Causes of Stress
Everyone has different triggers that stress them out. Work stress and life stress can have a big impact.
Examples of Work Stress:
- Working long hours
- Being unhappy with your job
- Having a heavy and hectic workload
- Too much responsibility
- Working under dangerous conditions
- Fear of termination
- Insecure about chance of advancement or promotion
- Having to give speeches in front of colleagues or management
- No say in decision making process
- Having poor management
- Facing discrimination or harassment within your working environment
Examples of Life Stress:
- Death of a loved one
- Moving into a new home
- Loss of a job or being fired
- Increased financial obligations
- Managing children
- Emotional problems ( anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, anger, grief )
- Experiencing a traumatic event in your life
- Chronic illness or injury
- Taking care of elderly of sick family member
Unhealthy Ways of Coping with Stressful Situations:
- Drinking Alcohol
- Binging on Junk food
- Spending too much time in front of TV/Computer
- Being anti-social
- Using pills or drugs
- Lashing out on others through verbal or physical violence
Focus on Living a Healthy Lifestyle
Adopt a clean and healthy diet. Well-nourished bodies are better prepared to cope with stress, so be mindful of what you eat. Start your day right with breakfast, and keep your energy up and your mind clear with balanced, nutritious meals throughout the day.
Reduce caffeine and sugar. The temporary "highs" caffeine and sugar provide often end in with a crash in mood and energy. By reducing the amount of coffee, soft drinks, chocolate, and sugar snacks in your diet, you’ll feel more relaxed and you’ll sleep better.
Avoid alcohol, cigarettes and drugs. Self-medicating with alcohol or drugs may provide an easy escape from stress, but the relief is only temporary. Don’t avoid or mask the issue at hand; deal with problems head on and with a clear mind.
Get your 8 hours of quality sleep! Adequate sleep fuels your mind, as well as your body. Feeling tired will increase your stress because it may cause you to think irrationally.
Using Natural Supplements That Will Reduce Stress:
1. St. John’s Wort – Prevents the breakdown of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is associated with feelings of well-being, which can combat the feelings associated with stress. This product can interact with prescription medication such as birth control pills and should be used only if advised by an expert.
2. Vitamin C – Regulates levels of cortisol and lowers blood pressure in anxiety inducing situations. It also boosts the immune system that helps to maintain healthy adrenal glands.
3. B-Complex Vitamins – Vitamins B1 and B6 support adrenal gland health—crucial to regulating cortisol. B5 is depleted during times of stress. Supplementing the body’s intake of B5 can ensure that cortisol levels do not drastically fluctuate.
4. Magnesium – Like B5, magnesium is depleted when the body reacts to stress. Magnesium is highly abundant in the body and is involved in most systems, processes and biochemical reactions that occur. Magnesium levels need to remain high if the body’s biochemistry is to remain in balance.
5. Passionflower –In supplement form, this plant has a calming effect and is used as a treatment for anxiety and nervous tension.
6. Barley tea – Contains tryptophan, an amino acid that produces serotonin, the mood regulating neurotransmitter. It also aids in digestion, which is a problem experienced by stress sufferers.
7. Valerian Root- Valerian is an herb commonly used to treat insomnia, anxiety, and stress. Although it’s considered safe for most adults, the effects of long-term use are unknown. Short-term side effects include headaches and sluggishness in the morning, especially if taken at higher doses. Early research indicates it could be helpful in reducing blood pressure, heart rate, and feelings of pressure when under stress.
8. Melatonin- A hormone produced by the brain’s pineal gland, melatonin helps control sleep cycles. Because sleep and mood are closely connected, supplementing with melatonin can alleviate stress. It’s considered safe, but can cause side effects like headaches, short-term feelings of depression, dizziness, and irritability. Research indicates that melatonin can be a helpful in promoting healthy sleep patterns. One small study found that the supplement significantly improved sleep, behavioral disorders, depression, and anxiety in elderly patients. In another study, melatonin produced significant improvements in sleep efficiency in insomniac patients 50 and older.
9. Theanine- An amino acid found in green tea, theanine is often used for treating anxiety and high blood pressure. There’s limited evidence that theanine may help people who aren’t stressed feel more tranquil. However, those with elevated stress levels didn’t experience the same effect. Another study indicated theanine may reduce anxiety and lower blood pressure increases in high-stress response adults.
10. Phosphatidylserine- Phosphatidylserine (PS) occurs naturally in the body and supports cellular function, especially in the brain. Although the supplement form is considered safe for most adults and children, it can cause side effects like insomnia and stomach upset, particularly at doses over 300 mg. One study found preliminary evidence that a combination of soy-based PS and lecithin may moderate the body’s reaction to stress.
11. Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid- Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) is a chemical made in the brain and often taken as a supplement to relieve anxiety, improve mood, reduce PMS symptoms, and treat symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Controlling Stress with Regular Exercise
Once you’re in the habit of being physically active, try to incorporate regular exercise into your daily schedule. Activities that are continuous, rhythmic and fun are especially effective at relieving and reducing stress. Walking, running, swimming, climbing, yoga, dancing, cycling, tai chi, skiing, biking and aerobic classes are all good choices.
First pick an activity you enjoy, so you’re more likely to continue with it. Instead of continuing to focus on your thoughts while you exercise, make a conscious effort to focus on your body and the physical (and sometimes emotional) sensations you experience as you’re exercise. By adding this element to your exercise routine will help you break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that often accompanies overwhelming stress and anxiety. Emphasize on coordinating your breathing with your movements, for example, or notice how the air or sunlight feels on your skin. Yoga is a great technique to conquer this mindful element.
Getting out of your head and paying attention to how your body feels is also the surest way to avoid picking up an injury. When you’ve exercised, you’ll likely find it easier to put other stress management techniques to use, including reaching out to others and engaging socially.