Did you know the term was originally coined in 1939 by a Canadian Endocrinologist.
Last night at Goodness Me! we talked about the effects of stress, and what stress actually looks like in the body; as well as Natural Ways to reduce Stress.
I really like the definition because I think it highlights exactly what we experience quite well!
Let's Break it Down!
"Non specific response of the body" - this describes that whether we have a physical stressor like an emergency situation like a fire for example, or a mental stressor like a work deadline - the body responds the same, non specific way. It increases our blood pressure, dilates our pupils, diverts blood and energy away from our digestive system and towards our muscles. While this may be great for the first scenario, this kind of reaction doesn't typically help us in our day to day stresses - yet it still occurs.
"Demand for Change" - In the first scenario, the demand is that you escape the situation [fight or flight, if you will] which thereby changes the situation. In the second scenario, the demand is that you change the current situation of not having the work task completed, to a future situation of being done and heading home for the day.
Interestingly, when there are multiple "demands for change", in other words, multiple life stresses, both our psychological interpretation, and our biochemical response becomes more primed to react. In plain English - Stress leads to more Stress!
So how can we stop the stress cycle and reduce stress's effects on our bodies?
1. Heal the Gut: We’ve all had that gut feeling, or butterflies in our stomach from time to time and this is because the brain and the body talk.
Our gut has been referred to as our second brain, and one of the big reasons for this is that
Heal the gut through:
Eating whole, real food – as much as you can, as often as you can. It’s a reality for many people that this is not always possible, but it’s about making the choice when it is possible and learning about the foods and ways to incorporate more easily into busy lifestyles. It’s a simple suggestion, but can have really powerful impacts on your health.
Reducing the sugar is an important one, and fortunately, one that happens naturally by cutting out some of the processed and packaged foods. Always try and watch out for how much sugar is added into your food choices!
Good fiber is important for many aspects of our health, but it can be particularly helpful for improving digestion, and reducing risk of certain cancers and gastrointestinal conditions. Consume both insoluble and soluble fibers [bran, dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds, fruits, lentils]
2. Replace the nutrients that become depleted with stress!
Magnesium: Magnesium is one of the most important minerals we have. It is important for relaxing our muscles, and has many functions in our central nervous system and cardiovascular system. It is also depleted with chronic stress!
B Vitamins: the B vitamins in general are important for many cellular processes throughout the body. They can also be helpful for preventing burn out, improving mood, and replacing the extra amount that is required with chronic stress.
Vitamin C: is a great antioxidant, and shown to reduce the negative effects of acute stress.
3. Consider adaptogen or nervine teas to help the body cope with stress!
Nervines help to calm the nervous system, and typically contain vitamins and minerals which are nutritive for the body and mind. These include herbs such as :
As always, a Naturopathic Doctor can help assess your stress levels and figure out what herbs and supplements will be support you, in your unique circumstances!
Yours in Health,
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