Stress is the most common ailment of our time that can bring with it numerous other ailments such as insomnia and stomach ulcer. Let’s find out better how to cure it.
- What is stress
- Stress symptoms
- Physical symptoms of stress
- Behavioral symptoms of stress
- Emotional symptoms of stress
- Cognitive symptoms of stress
- Causes of Stress
- Nutrition against stress
- Herbal remedies
- Bach flowers
- Chinese medicine
- Anti-stress exercises
What is stress
We give a definition to stress, taking up the words of Hans Selye as the “ non-specific response of the organism to every request made on it ”. The same researcher had indicated a model of the stress process divided into 3 phases:
- Alarm : the pressing of external stimuli is signaled and the subject is activated to provide answers
- Resistance : the subject aligns with the new condition and adapts to perform
- Exhaustion : the defenses are relaxed, with the possible appearance of physical and mental symptoms.
However, stress is not always negative: we differentiate between eustress and distress.
- Eustress : a solicitation that supports the individual to do well, making the most of all his physical and mental resources
- Distress : hyper-stress that generates a perverse circle of stress and anxiety, in which the individual is no longer an acting subject, but a subject “overwhelmed” by becoming.
Stress can be
- Acute , when relegated to an episode in a limited amount of time;
- chronic : if the solicitation is repeated and protracted over time.
Stress manifests itself in different ways and at different levels, often in an uncontrolled way , using the autonomic and somatic nervous systems, sometimes the endocrine and immune systems . According to modern psychoneuroimmunology theories all these systems are interconnected and messages travel in a bidirectional way .
Physical symptoms of stress
Stress can manifest itself through important physical signals, with more or less disabling disorders:
- Headaches of various kinds ( neck pain ,weekend migraine and various related forms);
- back pain , often with the implication of lumbar pain blocking movement
- stomach pain , with forms of esophagitis , cramps, digestive difficulties
- tachycardia , irregular heartbeats, sensation of feeling your heart in your throat
- sleep disturbances which can range from insomnia to hypersomnia
- tiredness , difficulty concentrating, fatigue
Stress also influences many attitudes, not always in a conscious way:
- Compulsive hunger, food often becomes a vehicle for release.
- Alcohol abuse, looking for a relief of tensions.
- Bruxism: teeth grinding in sleep, with stiffening of the temporomandibular joint.
Stress can change emotional reactions and be the antechamber of emotional tensions, stress depression, stress anxiety
- Easy and uncontrollable crying.
- Nervousness and anger.
- Unhappiness, with a sense of helplessness, loneliness.
The build-up of stress can lead to ailments that are very difficult to manage
- Mental confusion.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Memory lapses.
- Inability to find solutions, lack of creativity.
- Loss of sense of humor.
Causes of Stress
Stressors, or stressors, can be of various kinds and perceived as such at the discretion of the subject. In simpler terms, stressors are subjective and can vary in intensity.
In general, some categories of stressors can be identified:
- Extraordinary life events, not necessarily with negative connotations (marriage, graduation, birth of a child, but also bereavement, job loss, retirement, change of home);
- physical conditions, internal or external : motor trauma, pain, heat, cold, substance abuse;
- environmental conditions : noisy, smoky, polluting places in general;
- diseases : conditions that stimulate a reactive response above the forces applicable at that juncture.
Nutrition in case of stress
Stress manifests itself with lack of energy , excessive and continuous fatigue, poor concentration, apathy and difficulty in regaining strength.
In stress, as in fatigue, packaged foods, those rich in sugars and sweeteners and sugary drinks will be excluded.
The diet must be natural and alkalizing , rich in whole grains, legumes, small fish, oil seeds, extra virgin olive oil, vegetables and seasonal fruit of organic production, in order to provide the body with all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals that are needed to recover energy.
Important are magnesium and B vitamins,which are introduced by varying foods and various types of whole grains as much as possible.
In particular conditions, in addition to vitamins and minerals, natural tonic and adaptogen substances such as spirulina algae , ginseng, eleutherococcus, royal jelly, pollen, rhodiola , and so on can
also be useful . , that is the level of sugars in the blood, which is kept constant by avoiding quick-release simple sugars and products based on refined white flours.
During stress, dehydration is more easily incurred , therefore the consumption of water between meals should be increased, but also of organic herbal teas.
To reduce if not eliminate the use of coffee and tea which could worsen the symptoms.
Vitamin B deficiency is linked to stress: find out the causes and natural remedies
Herbal remedies for stress
The plants used against stress are able to produce a general improvement in psychophysical conditions; they have a balancing action on the immune, endocrine, nervous and cardio-circulatory systems, promoting the body’s resistance to effort and recovery.
- Passiflora : ( Passiflora incarnata ) the leaves are particularly indicated by virtue of the calming and antispasmodic effects, in case of anxiety, nervous tension, irritability and in all disorders of the nervous sphere related to stress.
- Rhodiola : ( Rhodiola rosea ), the briar is extremely effective to combat tiredness and fatigue, improves the quality of sleep, and has a cardioprotective effect, useful in states of stress, with tachycardia, palpitations, anxiety and nervousness;
- Maca of the Andes : ( Lepidium meyenii ), its root is of great help, to combat stress-related disorders, such as decreased libido and sexual asthenia in both sexes. These revitalizing and aphrodisiac properties are due to the presence of components with a stimulating action on the endocrine glands, especially the adrenal ones, the ovaries and the testicles;
- Griffonia : ( Griffonia simplicifolia ) the seeds have antidepressant properties , as it raises the levels of serotonin and regulates the sleep-wake cycle (circadian rhythm) by improving the quality of sleep. The use of the plant has also proved useful for the control of nervous hunger, linked to states of anxiety and stress;
- Hypericum : ( Hypericum perforatum ) acts as a rebalancing of mood, limiting the reabsorption of two hormones (noradrenaline and dopamine) which intervene to support the body in periods of greater stress or nervous exhaustion;
- The bud extract of the Birch Seeds ( Betula verrucosa ) acts on the central nervous system, rebalancing it in periods of work stress and emotional stress; asthenia and collateral symptoms, headache, cardiocirculatory arrhythmia, gastrointestinal spasms.
Among the herbal remedies there are also some medicinal mushrooms useful for fatigue, such as Reishi and Cordyceps . These help the body and the psyche to regain well-being, improving the quality of sleep, energy, mood.
You can learn more about all the herbal remedies for stress
Bach flowers for stress
Bach flowers are a truly effective remedy to support the body in coping with conditions of psychophysical stress; they exert a revitalizing action on mind and body .
- Elm : it is used in states of stress resulting from the anxiety of not being able to face too many responsibilities and one thinks of not being able to complete one’s task. In an excessive daily commitment, the individual who needs Elm finds himself going through a moment of fatigue and psycho-physical exhaustion. The first of the benefits that this Bach flower brings is a rapid energy improvement, with greater concentration and working capacity.
- Hornbeam : represents the “Monday morning syndrome”, with difficulty in starting the day , mental fatigue due to demotivation, routine; these people doubt that they will not be able to face the day, fulfill their duties and tasks, have difficulty coping with problems and carrying out their obligations, which is usually not a problem. Sleep does not give them the correct rest, in the presence of an illness they doubt that they have enough strength to heal, they have a distinct loss of will, combined with asthenia and tiredness.
- Olives : those who find themselves having to resort to this floral remedy have worked hard, or have suffered intense and prolonged stress, to the point of no longer having the energy to face the minimum tasks. The individual may have suffered a lot physically and emotionally, he feels weak, like after an exam, a job, a relationship, the struggle for an ideal. This exhaustion of physical and mental energy causes depression, the desire to escape from life, or from commitments in general. This flower is a true energy supplement, it is suitable for those who feel exhausted by heavy tasks and who want to completely regenerate.
In addition to Bach flowers, the Australian Bush flowers are also shown to be useful against stress , gathered in a compound, Stress Stop , which promotes calm and relaxation.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
In traditional Chinese medicine, each organ of the body has a corresponding psychic content, which means that we also deposit mental energies inside the organism.
Stress, like anxiety, arises from energy imbalances , intoxications and malfunctioning of organs that damage mental energy: for example, an intoxicated liver decreases the strength of decisions. In addition to the Liver meridians , it is useful to treat those of the Heart and Spleen .
Acupuncture mobilizes the qi, the energy of the Liver, and calms the shen, through the work on these points:
- SHEN MEN (on the transverse crease of the wrist), which tones and regulates the cardial qi;
- XING JIANG (between the big toe and the second toe), which tones and regulates the Liver, and cools the Blood;
- FENG LONG (between the lower edge of the patella and the vertex of the external malleolus), which dissolves moisture, mobilizes the qi of the Spleen and Stomach, calms the shen and promotes the descent of the Yang.
Aromatherapy for stress
The essential oils indicated to deal with periods of stress or nervous exhaustion have a rebalancing action on the hormonal system , they favor the correct functionality of the endocrine glands in the production of regulatory hormones of our biological clock, such as the sleep / wake cycle, hunger / satiety.
These essences, inhaled by environmental diffusion (1 drop per square meter in the place where you stay), or poured into the bathtub (10 drops), or simply massaged on the body, intervene on the stability of the mood, calm the states of tension. and anxiety, infusing the organism with a new charge.
- Grapefruit essential oil : endowed with adaptogenic properties, it is indicated in periods of nervous exhaustion, anxiety or strong stress due to unbalanced rhythms of life during seasonal changes or climatic changes, to overcome jet-lag.
- Essential oil of petit grain: it has a toning and rebalancing action on the nervous system. For these properties it is recommended in times of high stress to counteract irritability and nervousness, depression, and insomnia.
- Bergamot essential oil : has a calming action on the nervous system, counteracting states of anxiety. It is used to improve the quality of sleep, in case of insomnia; to combat stress and to reduce states of agitation, confusion, depression and fear. It induces a joyful and dynamic mood, eliminating psychological blocks.
- Mint essential oil : has a refreshing and regenerating effect on the psyche. It is effectively used to promote concentration while studying for exams, or to improve performance in the office. This essence also carries out a tonic action, useful in case of psycho-physical fatigue and autonomic problems, due to states of stress, such as anxiety, insomnia, depression.
- Vetiver essential oil: it is a tonic in case of mental exhaustion because it calms and instills strength and security. It restores in case of stress and hyperactivity, and supports concentration.
- Palmarosa essential oil : thanks to its stimulating action on the nervous system, it is also a valid remedy for the treatment of mental fatigue, nervousness and stress.
In fact, what we identify as stress is nothing more than a poor ability to manage turning situations , exposure to new sensations and manifestations around us.
This definition must certainly be enriched with the path that the word itself has made:
- W. Cannon was the first to enunciate the concept of alarm to H. Selye, and he placed the emphasis mainly on the biological-somatic aspects,
- R. Lazarus worked on the problem of psychological stress,
- J. Mason touched on the psychobiological aspects of stress e
- P. Pancheri tried to unite the biological-behavioral aspects.
To understand when you are undergoing stress before it becomes chronic, you should observe your body, listen to it again.
In case of anxiety it is of great help to massage some points of your body indicated in traditional Chinese medicine.
Here are two techniques that can help :
- With the thumb of your right hand, massage the center of the palm of your left hand in a circular motion for about two minutes. Repeat the massage on the right.
- Another technique is to press with the index finger, for five minutes, the point between the two eyebrows: exert a little force in the pressure, the benefit will be immediate.
If, on the other hand, you want to deal with the disorder in a more systematic way, we recommend oriental practices such as integral yoga or Chinese gentle gymnastics: those suffering from anxiety find it difficult to enter the perspective of quiet and meditation of these disciplines, which however in the long term they are of exceptional help to regain contact with the interior, through the exploration and overcoming of bodily blocks.
In fact, there are many types of stress other than optimal, such as acute and / or chronic stress in action-blocking conditions , chronic overproduced stress, acute stress in a situation with chronic stress inhibition.
Autogenic training can be useful, because it includes certain physiological-rational exercises that spontaneously create changes in muscle tone, vascular functions, cardiac and pulmonary activity, autonomic balance and the state of consciousness.
There may be many symptoms of stress which can, in turn, compromise some functions of the internal organs. According to psychosomatic medicine it is a choice of the unconscious, which identifies as the target organ, the one representing the problem (tachycardia-emotional problem, dermatitis-interpersonal relationships, dyspepsia-difficulty in “digesting” some situations with consequent meteorism and / or nausea).
Yes to relaxation techniques , meditation, qi gong .
When stress becomes the normal condition, we speak of chronic stress that has repercussions on both the cardiac and pulmonary and gastrointestinal levels. Stress also produces endocrine, uro-genital and epidermal damage.