Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that stress is a killer. Research suggests that stress causes everything from fatigue to cancer. Stress can take a serious toll on our bodies. Here are 8 sure-fire ways to recover from the mind-bending whirlwind of our daily lives
1. Get a stress busting Massage An increasing number of research studies show massage reduces heart rate, lowers blood pressure, increases blood circulation and lymph flow, relaxes muscles, improves range of motion, and increases endorphins. These are only a few of the proven benefits. Not forgetting that it just plain feels great!
2. Supplement with Super Fruit extracts Containing Polyphenols Polyphenols are organic compounds found in plants (particularly fruit) which are known to promote human health. Recent evidence demonstrates that plant polyphenols have numerous benefits, including supporting healthy blood lipids, fighting inflammation and quenching free radicals. Studies show that with polyphenols, the more the merrier. Even polyphenols from different plants seem to work synergistically when consumed together, with benefits from the combination again equaling more than the sum of the parts. I really can’t say enough about polyphenols, start supplementing with these today.
3. Go For a Daily Walk
In a 2010 article in Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers found a 20% reduction in anxiety symptoms compared to those who did not exercise. Lower risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and stroke; stronger bones; reduced stress; and even more brain cells! All that and more from a little physical activity. Now if that’s not reason enough to get up and get moving on a regular basis, what is?
4. Adaptive Herbs:
To date, there are no drugs that can tame the impact of stress on the body, but nature has provided us with "adaptogens" that are proven to improve the body's natural ability to combat emotional and physical stress. The three most effective and safest adaptive herbs include:
Ashwaghanda: a medicinal Indian herb shown to decrease blood cortisol levels by up to 26 percent in chronically-stressed individuals.
Rodiola: an herb that grows in cold regions; has been shown to exert anti-fatigue effects, increased mental performance, and ability to concentrate in chronic fatigue sufferers (Darbinyan, et al., 2000; Spasov, et al., 2000; Shevtsov, et al., 2003).
Shisandra: extensive experimental research in Russia has documented this herb's numerous adaptive properties, including positive effects on the central nervous, sympathetic, endocrine, immune, respiratory, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal systems, prevention of atherosclerosis, high blood sugar and other outcomes, under periods of chronic stress (Panossian A, et al., 2008).
5. Get a Chiropractic Adjustment That aaahhh!!! Feeling you get after a good chiropractic adjustment is a huge release of both endorphins and enkephalins (the body’s natural mood lifters and pain killers). Here are some other well known facts that happen within the blood stream after a chiropractic adjustment: 1) cortisol levels decrease producing a relaxation response 2) prostaglandin levels known to cause women’s cramping decline 3) aldosterone concentrations fall lowering blood pressure 4) Three Neuropeptides known to cause inflammation fall.
6. Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids
These good fats are so protective to the body, it’s hard not to mention them in this list of things that combat stress. Long chain Omega-3’s like EPA and DHA can be found in fish oil supplements. Solid research shows it provides lower heart attack risk. It is also helpful in treating Type 2 diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, dementia and depression. Omega-6 fats have been shown to lower the risk for heart disease in a number of studies. They lower bad (LDL) cholesterol, help reduce torso fat, lower blood sugar and increase lean muscle tissue.
7. Kick the Caffeine Habit
People are increasingly reaching for medications and stimulants to battle their sleep problems, often simultaneously – pharmaceuticals for the insomnia and caffeine for the daytime fatigue. Unfortunately, neither solution can replace the recuperative and restorative powers of natural sleep. Both can alter nature’s elaborate sleep architecture, the quality and the optimum proportion of deep and light sleep, and the amount of REM, or dream sleep. Moderate amounts of caffeine ingested in the morning are sufficiently metabolized by bedtime – they won’t have a major impact on sleep. Simply restricting caffeine intake after the noon hour could have dramatic effects on the ability to fall asleep at night and the ensuing quality of sleep. It also may negate or reduce the need for sleep aids. Nature wins and so does the sleeper!
8. Go to Sleep!
Remember your parents always yelling at you to “Go to sleep!” They were right. I have heard many people tell me that they do just fine on 4-5 hours of sleep per night, but these same people often have “unexplained” health problems. In my professional opinion, 7-9 hours is right for most people. A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that: LESS SLEEP = MORE TIME TO EAT. Those who slept less (5.5 Hours/night) consumed 1087 kcal/day in snacks, and those who slept more (8.5 Hours/night) consumed 866 kcal/day in snacks. Another recent study showed that a good night’s sleep actually helps rescue memories that were lost during a stressful day. Four supplements that you should consider if you are having trouble sleeping are Chamomile tea, Melatonin, Valerian, and Kava. These are all safe when taken properly.
Many reading this article, need to be setting some goals for stress reduction. This list of stress busting solutions could mean the difference between reaching your goals or another year of missed opportunities. In fact, you might want to use this list as your actual plan for: lowering blood pressure, losing weight, getting off risky medications or blowing your stress out of the water. Whatever your plan, I wish you the best of health to you and your family. If you need help reaching your health goals or natural relief for a specific problem, just give us a jingle at:
David Sanders, DC is a chiropractic physician that has been practicing in Independence Missouri for over 15 years.