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Stress -The 20th Century disease-
To be alive is to be under a certain amount of stress. It is needed by all who wish to do their best. Yet, this all too common state of being ‘stressed out’ is recognized in medical research studies as being the major factor in high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes and coronary artery disease. Furthermore no other single cause is responsible for the world-wide escalation of drug and alcohol abuse.
The causes of stress vary and are more often than not emotionally triggered such as marriage difficulties, divorce or separation; personal illness; unemployment or difficulties at work; bereavement; abuse; or suppressed anger or resentment.
Signs & Symptoms of stress include chronic fatigue, feeling exhausted all the time; foggy and irrational thinking; uncontrollable and unexplainable emotional states such as tears, tantrums and ‘losing one’s rag’; uncontrolled outbursts of anger; feeling frustrated; low immune system resulting in frequent cold and flu symptoms, anxiety attacks and sleeplessness. Stress affects us on many levels – emotionally, mentally and physically. If prolonged stress levels are left untreated it can cause insomnia; major panic attacks, heart palpitations, high blood pressure, weight loss, heart attacks, stroke and eventually death.
The effects of this modern ‘dis-ease’ is so detrimental to the body that when one is under stress, the body reacts by producing cortisol, the so-called stress hormone. Cortisol blocks the body’s absorption of calcium and magnesium on a cellular level, both of which are fundamental to skeleton/bone strength and structure, hence opening the doorway to debilitating disorders such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.
Promisingly though, stress can be treated on many levels and in my own clinical practice it is shown that treatment involves putting simple and achievable ‘coping mechanisms’ into place. As we are unable (to some extent) to change the world in which we live, we at least have the ability to be able to change the way in which we cope with our world- emotionally, mentally and physically.
From a nutritional point of view, a diet rich in wholesome natural foods are essential giving the mind and body the essential nutrients back otherwise robbed through the effects of stress. Eliminating processed ‘junk’ foods is a must and incorporating essential vitamins and minerals including B vitamins, especially B6, B12 Folic acid and Omega 3’s. Magnesium supplementation in easily absorbable form along with stress relieving herbal teas and tonics, both available from Heaven On Earth Herbals create the building blocks for our body’s natural coping defence mechanisms.
Water assists the liver and kidneys in eliminating waste materials in the body caused by the effects of stress, a minimum of 2 litres daily is required. Eliminating caffeine, alcohol, cigerettes, other stimulants and the fore mentioned processed foods from the diet assist the body’s recovery from the effects of stress. Counselling is advised to deal with external life circumstances and the emotional issues that precipitated the stress-related symptoms. Finally, exercise is an incredibly important coping mechanism. Helping to bring the mind back into the body, jogging or running on a treadmill along with weekly yoga, meditation and tai chi are great stress relievers as are regular dance classes. However, nothing beats a long walk in the open air countryside for reducing stress levels.
‘Your Health is in Your Hands!’
©Article written by Caroline Evans