Managing Stress

morterStress!! Just hearing that word causes stress for many women. Why does that word cause so much anxiety. The definition of the word stress is that it is a non specific response of the body. Stress is a fact of life. For most of us though stress is just short term, the problems occur when it is long term or not being managed .

  “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light”(Matthew 11:30 )

 

There are three stages of stress that happen when stress occurs. The first stage is generally known as the alarm stage. This is the short stress stage. Sometimes this stress can actually be good for a person. It is not always bad. This can be getting some exciting good news, or running late to work. The second stage of stress is known as the resistance stage . Now our bodies are preparing to be more resistant to this stress. Sometimes at this point the stress can continue and we falsely believe we are handling it fine. Unfortunately this can have serious issues later on. The third and the last stage is the exhaustion stage. At this point our body cannot keep up what is necessary to fight the stress and maintain good health. This is the complete depletion stage .

 

Not managing the stress will lead our body to think this is the new normal. When the body experiences the complete depletion stage it involves the central nervous system, the immune system and the endocrine system. As the body continues to try and adapt to this new normal it continues to use more and more energy which is continually depleted. Some of the physical issues that can happen are thyroid issues, hormonal issues and weight gain.

God has blessed us abundantly with herbs as tools to manage stress, “which yields its fruit in season, Psalm 1:3b)

There are several different approaches to managing stress. It is important to keep in mind that we do need to manage it though. For the holistic herbalist this is looked at as a whole rather than trying to fix one symptom. Adaptogens are one type of herb that can be used to help your body manage the stress in your life. Aviva Romm suggests a protocol of adaptogens over a period of at least 3 months or perhaps even longer.

 

Ashwaganda – This herb is very gentle and can be used long term. Generally it is used for general anxiety, insomnia and irritability. Ashwaganda is an anti-inflammatory, immunomodulator, antioxidant, stress reducer and thyroid stimulator.(caution advised – do not use if pregnant)

 

Eleuthro – The adaptogen is also known as Siberian gingseng. It is an energy booster, stress reducer anabolic and  immunomodulator. This herb is  great for environmental stressors, chronic ongoing stress and to fight infection. This also can be used to help overcome a traumatic situation, recovery from surgery and overcome the effects of radiation and chemotherapy. Eleuthro is used often to help restore the adrenal glands and can be used as a preventative for adrenal stress.

 

Holy Basil- Some of the common names of holy basil are indian basil and tulsi. This herb is an antibacterial, adaptogen, anti-viral, carminative and demulcent. Holy basil can support our body with the stresses of modern day to day life. It is good for situational stress and depression.

 

Schizandra – This adaptogen is an antioxidant, anti-tumor, antitussive and antibacterial. This herb is very highly regarded in Chinese material medica and is often used in TCM today. According to Aviva Romm it has the five flavors of classical Chinese medicine (sour, bitter, sweet, salty and pungent).  This herb can be used for those that eat a diet poor in nutrition, poor eyesight and adrenal fatigue. It can be helpful to prevent liver damage from overuse of acetaminophen and tetracycline. (caution- do not use if , pregnant or have high blood pressure)

faviconSome other ways to prevent overload of stress are lifestyle changes, relaxation techniques and choosing to eat a healthy diet. Many factors will contribute to stress and it is important to look at a few different changes .

Some simple tips to utilize are:

Healthy whole foods

Drink plenty of water

Gardening
Some simple non cardio exercise such as a walking, yoga, pilates.

Sleep- Very important to get an adequate amount of good quality sleep. Sleep at optimal hours to keep melatonin and cortisol levels balanced.

Find a good support system. Social support is very important to our health. Those that live in isolation will usually respond poorly to stressful situations .

 

“The Lord  gives strength to his people. the Lord blesses his people with peace”(Psalm 29:11)

 

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