It’s not as easy to cope with stress as some people think. The holiday season is supposed to be a time for joy and laughter, but while many are enjoying celebrations, others are juggling too much responsibility, or perhaps even grieving. Maybe it is work-related stress, travel stress, or social media bullies.
High stress is emotionally draining, and the physical manifestations are well documented so for 2023, we need to figure out ways to manage it without the use of alcohol or marijuana.
It’s pretty hard to ignore the fact that stress is the root cause or at least a strong contributor to many diseases of our time.
When we’re stressed, the amygdala portion of the brain (which controls emotional processing) sounds the alarm and ultimately leads to excessive amounts of cortisol, adrenaline, glucagon, and GROWTH HORMONE.
Over time, these chemicals become out of balance and lead to insomnia, low libido, stomach upset or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), chronic fatigue, and likely some degree of depression.
There are good books on the topic of managing stress, as well as therapists who can help, so today I will only offer simple adjustments that you can make, like things you could implement today.
Here are 6 simple solutions to help you cope with stress:
1. Quiet the mind.
Turn off the TV and podcast, and radio. Turn off the computer. This will quell the anxiety of perceived problems that will likely never manifest. It’s interesting that when the mind quiets, so does the stomachache that often goes with stress. It is possible to manage these and other physical reactions by quieting the mind. Perhaps other methods to help include using calming dietary adjustments, therapy, or educational programs on topics and hobbies that interest you (to take your mind off the stress and mental chatter). Learning to reroute yourself emotionally/mentally during bouts of intense stress might help to alleviate some, if not all, of your tummy upset too!
2. Talk to someone to cope with stress.
If you have someone you trust and can talk to, you might find that simply sharing your stressors with another person may be the perfect purge. Find someone who truly listens, and doesn’t try to one-up you with their own set of problems.
3. Sleep training.
If you can’t fall asleep at night, get up. Go fold a few towels, read a few pages of a book, write in your journal, or write a pretend letter that says it all to whomever, play solitaire, whatever… just take a few minutes to do something else. After a few minutes, or hours try going to bed again. While this type of ‘training’ doesn’t help you cope with stress, it allows you to be productive, and perhaps get things off your chest. In turn, by compartmentalizing the problem, you may be able to suddenly fall sleep for a little while. After journaling or thinking about it through the night, it’s likely you’ll be able to think with more clarity and make a decision if need be.
4. Download an app to help cope with stress.
Try downloading a stress management app like Headspace or HeartMath. These types of apps have many reviews to show they can help with emotional well-being. If nothing else, they take your focus away from your issues for a few minutes!
5. Consider supplements and herbal teas.
Magnesium is a very calming mineral that also supports healthy heart rhythm. It is rapidly depleted by various drug muggers like caffeinated beverages, acid blockers, and steroids. Other calming supplements include passionflower, rhodiola, chamomile, lavender, and ashwagandha. Please read How to Make Herbal Tea for Your Health.
I wrote a book about drug-nutrient depletion, what I’ve termed “Drug Muggers” and it currently has about 700 reviews on Amazon! You may enjoy this book, it’s one of my best-sellers, CLICK HERE to LEARN MORE.
Another article that you can read right now about stress is HERE. It has to do with hormones (and the DUTCH hormone test) because when those are out of balance, or you have cortisol/cortisone problems, or excessive testosterone or estrogen (or their metabolites), prescription pills WON’T help, and neither will psychiatric pills which are usually the first to be prescribed during times of stress.
6. Get professional help.
If your stress is unrelenting, please see a professional, especially if you have thoughts of self-harm.
If you are a caregiver during this time of year, be sure to get more balance in your life. There are in-home nurses available, housekeepers to keep your home tidy, and organizations that assist such as Visiting Angels.
When a person has to cope with stress, it’s usually occasional, not chronic. If it becomes chronic then your adrenal glands work overtime to produce cortisol. You may be interested in this article, How Your Mental Health is Affected By Homocysteine, Serotonin and Interleukin-8.
There’s good and bad stress. When we’re in love, our brains release chemicals like oxytocin, vasopressin, dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine which we can feel the physical effects of in varying ways.
When we’re stressed with something bad, there isn’t any oxytocin hanging around, quite the opposite! The amygdala portion of the brain (which controls emotional processing) sounds the alarm and sends signals to your hypothalamus (command central, if you will, for communicating with the rest of the body). The general response is to release a lot of our stress hormones, or ‘fight or flight’ chemicals. So we release cortisol, adrenaline, and glucagon (along with excessive catecholamines and growth hormone).
Over time, these chemicals become out of balance. Stress collects in the body and overwhelms it over time, burning out your pilot light! It then manifests itself as dis-ease (disease!) in the physical body.
Suzy Cohen, has been a licensed pharmacist for over 30 years and believes the best approach to chronic illness is a combination of natural medicine and conventional. She founded her own dietary supplement company specializing in custom-formulas, some of which have patents. With a special focus on functional medicine, thyroid health and drug nutrient depletion, Suzy is the author of several related books including Thyroid Healthy, Drug Muggers, Diabetes Without Drugs, and a nationally syndicated column.