As if COVID-19 didn’t already have everyone totally stressed out!
Political views are pushing stress levels higher and getting worse with every passing day as election time gets closer!
Politics has become be so divisive, disagreements are happening routinely not only between acquaintances but between close friends, co-workers and family members!
According to an American Psychological Association study on stress in America, 57 percent of Americans say the current political climate is a significant source of stress in their lives. Three-quarters of Americans felt at least one symptom of stress in the past month, with around one-third of adults experiencing anxiety, irritability or anger, or fatigue.
Social media and the 24-hour news cycle are a significant cause of so much stress that one therapist coined a new term: “Headline Stress Disorder.”
Stress is a nasty sneak which affects your sleep, mood and overall health making you to feel miserable which decreases work performance, ruins relationships and disrupts home life. Worst of all it can cause serious health problems!
Sudden stressful / traumatic events can trigger your "fight or flight" mechanism of the nervous system so the body unleashes a flood of chemicals, including the hormones adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones can temporarily increase your blood pressure by causing your heart to beat faster and your blood vessels to narrow.
Chronic (constant) stress causes our bodies to go into high gear on and off for days or weeks at a time. Stress hormones play a role in metabolism, inflammation, and immune system responses. So when our body is continually stressed, that is, continually bombarded by high levels of cortisol and corticosterone, our digestive function can become impaired - leading to increased appetite and weight gain, our nervous system can be damaged - leading to anxiety or depression, and our immune system can be suppressed - leading to sickness, hair loss, headaches and autoimmune diseases.
High cortisol levels over a prolonged time can also increase plaque build-up in the arteries, damage the neurons in the brain affecting memory, heightens pain and can also cause decreased sex drive.
Stress not only amplifies anxiety and depression it also weakens the immune system. A weaker immune increases the risk of becoming sick or accentuates the health problems that you already have. For instance with stress you are more likely to catch a cold / sinus infection or develop shingles. If you currently have arthritis or an autoimmune disorder you will often have symptoms get much worse.
When stress is all around you there are lots of things you can do naturally without side effects to tone down the over reactions. Begin with switching the TV or Radio channels if you find your heart racing or blood pounding in your ears. Steer yourself away from heated political conversations. Take some deep breaths it really calms you. There are many supplements that will chill you out so you don't go over the cliff!
- Calm & Calmer (Lifetime Vitamins) is a supplement that contains L-Theanine which is an amino acid found in green tea and extracted out. It helps to calm the mind of racing or worrying thoughts without making you sleepy. In fact it actually helps to make you more focused, less distracted and overwhelmed. Relora is an herbal combination of magnolia and phellodenron which have a calming effect on the adrenal glands (which activate the fight or flight hormones). This adrenaline rush often precipitates panic attacks. Relora helps to keep the adrenals from over reacting in stressful situations without making you sleepy.
- Holy basil is an ayurvedic herb which functions as an adaptogen, enhancing the body's natural response to physical and emotional stress. Adaptogenic herbs do not alter mood, but rather, they help the body function optimally during times of stress. Multiple scientific studies have found holy basil decreases stress hormone levels. A six-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled human study examined subjects with stress symptoms. Those who received a holy basil extract formula showed a 39% greater improvement in stress symptoms than those who received placebo. Additional research showed that after a period of introduced stress and elevated stress hormones. It appears that holy basil may play a role in helping your body to turn off the “stress alarm.”
- Relax-o-zyme (Enzymatic Therapy) is a somewhat more potent natural relaxer which contains premium extracts of valerian, passion flower, and hops. These herbs are combined with nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, and vitamin B6, which are important for proper nervous system function. It is particularly beneficial for stress that causes neck and back tension/tightness or tension headaches.
- Anxiety Soother liquid (Herb Pharm) For those who don’t like pills! Designed to support your body’s response to moments of occasional and mild anxiety. Calming, relaxing, soothing and mood elevating. Proprietary extract blend: 625 mg Kava rhizome with root, Passionflower flowering herb, Bacopa herb, Albizia bark, Lavender flower and Lavender essential oil. Other Ingredients certified organic cane alcohol (66-76%), distilled water & certified organic vegetable glycerin. Dilute in water & or juice.
- Sleep Optimizer (Jarrow Formulas) This unique formula combine’s herbs and amino acids that work together to facilitate falling asleep and maintaining a regular sleep cycle. Including: Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), lemon balm, and L-tryptophan promote relaxation. The combination of valerian and hops flower has been studied for its effect on reducing latency (the delay before entry into sleep). Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland that controls the biological clock and signals the entry into sleep.
As election day approaches, make your health a priority and help keep your stress levels in check! Seek help if you need to.
Jane Jansen Holistic Practitioner Tree of Life Wellness Center 508-336-4242
Host Holistic Healthline Radio