Wellness Centre – Stress


Stress

No matter what time of year or season, stress is a pervasive and prevalent aspect of our life, stemming from work, family, relationships, emotional upheaval and exercise. But did you know that stress also has a persistent, negative impact on your health, potentially with long-term consequences?

Diseases of Stress



The permanent status of stress and the activated sympathetic response is at the root of many modern day diseases, medical conditions and pathological maladjustments. Inflammation throughout the body, which garners chronic disease development, is founded on and perpetuated by stress. Issues of the digestive system, such as Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth and irritable bowel syndrome are often exasperated from stress. Stress is a concern in obesity and diabetes, due to sufferers’ association between stress and food consumption, while it has also been implicated in cardiovascular disease due to increased oxidative stress.

Overall when in a period of stress, the body does not function optimally in most of its day-to-day tasks. It does not do well at eliminating cellular waster, digesting food, enabling concentration and brain function or in typical immune function tasks such as fighting off foreign invaders. It is therefore not uncommon for those who are under continuous stress to regularly get sick or to struggle to recover once sickness has set in.

The continuous presence of stress in the body, initiating the release of cortisol and the stimulation of the fight or flight stress response builds up within the body. This not only can lead to, or worsen any of the diseases above, but it can also be the leading cause of adrenal fatigue.

The adrenal gland is the gland that helps modulate the stress response and brings the body back to baseline, enacting the parasympathetic system after a stressful event is over. It also activates the sympathetic fight or flight response. If it is constantly being forced to enact the sympathetic response, pressed into overdrive, it eventually burns out, cannot function properly and the user suffers from adrenal fatigue. Symptoms of adrenal fatigue include anxiety and constant feelings of being overwhelmed; panic attacks; physical fatigue and always wanting to sleep, or being unable to sleep; lack of appetite or increased appetite; increased incidence of injury or sickness and much more.

Learn more about stress and health here!


The Physiological Impact of Stress on the Body



Stress in the body is an evolutionary adaptation which originated from the early days of hunter-gatherer lifestyle. During these times, stress on the body was experienced as something such as being chased by a bear or attacked by a wild animal and the ability to respond to this needed to match in intensity and ruthlessness.This garnered the development of the stress response, whereby the body responds by heightening certain bodily functions, such as the ability to see, and the mobilization of energy for movement. At the same time, downgrades other functions, such as the need to digest or sleep.

Over time however, our lifestyle has changed; we no longer need to have a stress response to fight a bear, and instead our stresses come from work, physical exertion, family and finances. These altered stress sources still initiate the same stress response, but unfortunately, our modern day stressors – unlike the bear – never really go away. This means we are constantly living in a heightened stress response, and as such many bodily functions are shut off or compromised, including digestion and nutrient absorption, brain function and sleep quality.


Natural Solutions to Stress



These diseases and symptoms, not to mention the increased presence of stress itself, are often not best treated by medications. Using drugs simply masks the problem or artificially decreases the sympathetic response, but it doesn’t allow the individual to address the root of the stress and restore the body’s functioning stress response. To do this, individuals need to focus on a few areas:

  • Find the root cause(s) of stress and come up with a way to eliminate exposure. For example, stress caused from work, negative relationships, or excessive physical exercise.
  • Adopt a stress-reducing healthy diet, filled with whole foods, mostly plants, that offer nutrient density to allow for the body to have the resources it needs to heal.
  • Complement the healthy diet selections with natural stress reducing herbs, including peppermint, Valerian, ginger and chamomile.
  • Consume anti stress herbal infusions, such as HHS, which offer the herbal benefits and allow the soothing benefits of consuming a hot liquid.
  • Adopt other stress-reducing habits, such as breathing exercises.

In addition to managing stress through dietary changes, breathing techniques and mindfulness, getting adequate sleep is critical for the body to modulate stress itself. One of the ways to set yourself up for a good night’s sleep is to consume sleep-enhancing ingredients before bed:

  • Lemon Balm – helps reduce agitation, activate the parasympathetic nervous system, and has been shown to aid in managing mild Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Chamomile – research shows meaningful reductions in Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and overall promotes increased calmness for the body.
  • Valerian – improves efficiency of sleep cycle, fostering improved quality of sleep and optimizing total sleep time.

The Night Blend Herbal Infusion offered as part of HHS includes all of these ingredients and is designed to be the ideal beverage for reducing stress and tension prior to sleep.

Ready to get started on reducing your stress or decreasing the stress of your employees? Learn more here!