Stress and Anxiety

While stress in itself in not an illness it can cause serious illness if not tackled.

The body responds to stress with a series of physiological changes that include increased secretion of adrenaline, elevation of blood pressure, acceleration of the heartbeat, and greater tension in the muscles. Digestion slows down or stops, fats and sugars are released from stores in the body, cholesterol levels rise, and the composition of the blood changes slightly, making it more prone to clotting. This in turn increases the risk of stroke or heart attack over time. It is important to recognise the symptoms of stress early.

Stress and Anxiety

Tips to help you manage stress and anxiety naturally:

> Try to keep a stress diary for a couple weeks as this will help you become more aware of the situations which cause you to become stressed.

> Techniques such as deep breathing can help you calm down and take a step back from a stressful situation. Relieve tension by taking a break when you need one, take time to do whatever you enjoy such as having a long bath, reading, listening to music or exercising.

> Talking to someone can really help as it can distract you from stressful thoughts and help to release built-up tension.

> Take control. Stress can be triggered by a problem that may on the surface seem impossible to solve. By learning how to find solutions to your problems you will feel more in control which will in turn help to lower your stress.

> Food and drink can have a big impact on your mood and feelings. Avoid foods high in sugar as these give your body a quick boost followed by a sharp drop in energy. This can make you feel tired, irritable and unable to concentrate. Eating regularly and not skipping meals can make a real difference to your ability to deal with stress as your body is releasing a steady stream of energy throughout the day which will improve your concentration and mood. Avoid or reduce caffeine as it can lead to nervousness and disrupt sleep. Alcohol may offer temporary relief but does not deal with the problem, it only makes it worse.

> Exercise can help you to take a step back from a stressful situation. Exercise is known to release a chemical called serotonin, which makes you feel happier and less stressed. Exercise allows you to take your frustration out in a constructive way. Furthermore, exercising regularly can make you better able to cope with stress by lifting your mood, building self-confidence and clearing your mind of any anxious thoughts. Yoga and meditation are excellent for stress and anxiety, as you are focusing on your breathing.

Sleep

> Poor sleep habits which result in a lack of sleep can leave you feeling tired, low in energy and irritable, which can all reduce your ability to manage stress.

Sleep tips:

> Go to bed within 30 minutes of the same time each night and try to wake up at about the same time every day, even on weekends and holidays.

> Don’t go to bed too hungry or too full. Your discomfort will disrupt your sleep.

> Steer clear of nicotine and caffeine, they have stimulating effects which take hours to wear off and can wreak havoc with quality sleep.

> Physical exercise will help you fall asleep faster and to enjoy a deeper sleep.

> Try taking Irish Botanica Peace & Calm valerian, a traditional herbal medicinal product used for the temporary relief of symptoms of mild anxiety and to aid sleep.

For symptomatic relief of mild anxiety: Take one 5ml teaspoon - can be taken with water or juice if desired
For long-term Insomnia: Take two 5ml teaspoons at breakfast and lunch and then Take one 5ml teaspoon 30 minutes before bedtime
For acute insomnia: Take one 5ml spoonful 30 minutes before bedtime Take one 5ml spoonful if you wake up during the night.

If your symptoms worsen or persist contact a Doctor or qualified Healthcare professional.

 

Stress Support Groups

Aware (www.aware.ie)

Reach Out (www.reachout.com)

Pieta (www.pieta.ie)

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