Dealing with the effects of stress
In today's fast-paced world, more and more of us are suffering from extremely high levels of stress. Stress is our body's way of responding to any kind of threat. When our body senses these threats, our 'fight or flight' system takes over. Many of us may even be more affected by stress than we realise. You may think illness is to blame for that irritating headache, frequent insomnia or our decreased productivity at work. But stress may actually be the root cause.
If we get stressed out frequently, like many of us in today’s demanding world, our body may exist in a heightened state of stress most of the time. This can lead to serious health problems. Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in our body. It can suppress our immune system, upset our digestive and reproductive systems, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, and speed up the ageing process. It can even rewire the brain, leaving us more vulnerable to anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems.
Everyone experiences stress during life. It is important to look out for signs and symptoms so that we can take measures to deal with them. Common signs can include: constant worry or anxiety, difficulty concentrating, changes in sleep, overeating, dizziness, mood swings and many more. There are a few simple things that we can do to help reduce our stress; eating healthy to ensure our body receives the nutrients it needs; adding exercise to our day to release endorphins; getting good quality sleep.
So if you frequently find yourself feeling drained and overwhelmed, it’s time to take action to bring your nervous system back into balance. We can protect ourself and improve how we think and feel by taking simple steps to reduce its harmful effects. One change we can make to help prevent many symptoms occurring can be to start including adaptogens into our daily routine. Adaptogens increase the state of non-specific resistance in stress and decrease sensitivity to stressors, which results in stress protection, and prolong the phase of resistance (stimulatory effect). Medicinal herbs such as Ashwagandha, Rhodiola and Schisandra have been used for centuries to help maintain internal balance and build up our resistance to stress we face every day.
Many have argued that adaptogens are one of the best tools we have for restoring communication between the body and the brain to ultimately reduce stress. However, we won’t take adaptogens and immediately notice less stress. They take a while to build up and work on our body, so we should take them for at least two to three weeks before thinking too much about their effects.