Stress

Stress can be said to be our physical or emotional reactions to outside stimuli that is beyond what is normally experienced by us.

What to look for

  • Physical symptoms may include headache, fatigue, insomnia, digestive changes, neck or backache, loss of appetite, or overeating, increased use of tobacco or alcohol, tics or twitches.

  • Psychological symptoms may include tension or anxiety, anger, being reclusive, pessimism, lack of concentration, resentment, increased irritability, feelings of cynicism, performance problems.

We need to have a certain level of stress in our lives, as it inspires us to move ahead, to accomplish tasks and it motivates us to action. However, when there is more stress in our lives that we are able to cope with, the negative symptoms of stress may become apparent.

When we feel intense stress or fear, a hormone called adrenalin secretes from the adrenal glands above the kidneys. This hormone gets us ready to take action against the ‘enemy’. Our heart beats faster, our blood pressure rises, and our muscles will tense up.

Different people have different levels of stress that they can cope with. The stress may not even be apparent to us.

If we allow the stress to continue, it can eventually cause numerous problems within our body such as ulcers, fatigue, skin diseases and it puts stress on our immune system.

Causes

When life throws more things at us than we are able to cope with at a certain time, we are under stress. It could be related to our occupation, family life, a loss of someone close, money problems, conflict or even positive events. Other causes are internal: illness, loneliness, pain, or emotional conflict. The different stresses in our life accumulate and we reach a point when we show the effects of not coping with it.

You should be able to identify the triggers of stress in your life so as to teach yourself to be prepared and to learn how to best handle it.

Traditional Treatment

Often talking your problems over with someone helps you to see things from a different slant. This can be helpful in finding a solution which you did not think of before.

Otherwise, your doctor may be able to prescribe certain forms of medication for you. Remember, some are addictive and you should beware.

Your doctor may suggest a counsellor to pinpoint events or conditions that are stressful to you, and to devise ways of reducing the stress they cause.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Any therapy that promotes relaxation and clarity are helpful with this condition.

Aromatherapy  - Essential oil of lavender, sandalwood, and tangerine can help reduce stress: Try 5 drops of each in a bath. Essential oil of lavender, sandalwood, and tangerine can help reduce stress: Try 5 drops of each in a bath.

Massage  -  This helps relax your whole body and mind. Use the following essential oils - lavender, sandalwood, tangerine, bergamot, cedarwood, clary sage, Frankincense or grapefruit.This helps relax your whole body and mind. Use the following essential oils - lavender, sandalwood, tangerine, bergamot, cedarwood, clary sage, Frankincense or grapefruit.

See Our Aromatherapy Section for a complete listing and information on oils

Herbal Therapies  -  A traditional response to stress is to drink a cup of hot tea. Some herbalists suggest chamomile, passionflower, valerian, or ginseng tea. A traditional response to stress is to drink a cup of hot tea. Some herbalists suggest chamomile, passionflower, valerian, or ginseng tea.

Lifestyle -  If you feel stressed, try exercising to use up the hormones released.

Dietary Considerations

Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, and filtered water. Less caffeine drinks such as coffee and tea. Plenty of sleep and exercise.

Personal Care

  • Exercise

  • Breathe deeply and fully.

  • Try yoga to learn to relax and refocus.

  • Meditation creates relaxation.

Prevention

  • Get an enjoyable hobby or interest.

  • Get plenty of exercise that you enjoy, and rest.

  • Watch a funny movie, listen when people tell funny jokes.

  • Count to 10 and take a deep breath before reacting to a potentially stressful event. This old wives tale can actually help you keep your calm.

When to seek further professional advice

  • your stress is unbearable and persistent.