Do you have more going on in your life than you can deal with? Or are you one of those people that just seems to get stressed about everything anyway? Either way, here are some strategies on how to cope in a natural way.
Number one (often my number one, but is particularly important with stress) is, are you drinking enough water? In chinese medicine water is the element associated with the kidneys and bladder. The emotions linked to the water element are stress, anxiety and fear. Now to translate that into more modern terms. On top of our kidney sit our adrenal glands. This is where all our stress hormones are produced. If this system is being over worked we need to take extra special care of it, or we can ﬁnd ourselves in a vicious cycle between emotional stress and the body being physically stressed, which could land us up with adrenal exhaustion.
How to Nurture your Adrenal System
This will keep your physical body stress free so it can support you through difﬁcult emotional times.
1. Keep well hydrated. Which means drinking plenty of fresh water and going easy on the caffeine and alcohol.
2. Take an Omega 3 supplement. This is important for hydration – it helps your body hold onto water.
3. Have some saturated fat like eggs in your diet every day. Eggs contain cholesterol – all stress hormones are made from cholesterol. You will have elevated blood cholesterol if you are stressed! This is normal.
4. Take a multi-mineral supplement or a sea kelp supplement. Minerals are important for hydration and to feed our adrenals glands – they get a little greedy when we are stressed.
5. In cases of chronic stress, especially if long term, is to take Vitamin B5, or a B complex with a high level of B5. B5 is known as the stress vitamin and is excellent support for adrenal function.
6. Drink a high quality green tea rather than coffee or tea. L-theanine, present in green tea is calming and promotes production of the brains happy chemical, whilst keeping you sharp.
Taking Time Out
It’s often difﬁcult to take time out when life get too much, but it is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves. Lack of a chance to unwind will contribute to stress associated insomnia. A walk in the woods or on the beach; just half hour to yourself, can be more restorative than anything else!
Products Specifically for Stress
- Rhodiola Rosea is a herbal supplement that is classed as an adaptogenic herb. Rhodiola helps us adapt to the situation we are in. This supplement works extremely well for some people.
- Nature’s Plus – Mega Stress – a nutritional supplement with all the vitamins and minerals required to support the body when stressed. A great product for those with a high stress jobs or someone experiencing sudden extreme stress.
- Nature’s Plus – Hempceutix Stress – a Fab CBD oil product with added stress-combating herbs such as holy basil, ashwagandha and reishi mushroom.
- Natures Aid Passiflora complex – a gentle remedy for anxiety and tension.
- Solaray’s Total Calm Advanced, a food and herbal supplement to help you adapt to life’s stresses, keeping you calm.
Are you Getting Enough Sleep?
About 15% of the UK population is affected by insomnia at any one time. It is helpful to understand what is going on in the brain as we prepare for sleep to ﬁnd the best solution to our sleep problems.
As the light decreases in the evening we produce less adrenaline. Adrenaline is turned off by the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA (gamma amino-butyric acid). Meanwhile in the pineal gland, serotonin is converted to the hormone Melatonin and released as darkness falls. Melatonin regulates our sleep patterns. The simultaneous action of these two systems is linked, as GABA contributes to Melatonin production. Put simply more GABA + Serotonin = more Melatonin = good sleep.
Stress and stimulants such as caffeine counteract GABA by promoting adrenaline release, therefore keeping us awake. Caffeine also suppresses melatonin activity for up to 10 hours.
What you eat, how you prepare for sleep and your stress levels will all play a vital part in this chemical balance. Waking too early in the morning or not being able to get to sleep (or back to sleep) are classic problems due to imbalances in the chemistry of sleep.
Some Tips for a Peaceful Sleep
• Avoid mid-afternoon tiredness by making sure you have a substantial breakfast that will keep you going. Something that contains slow release carbs like porridge with protein such as a milled nut and seed mix sprinkled on top. Eggs are a great option too.
• Make sure you are hydrated. If you’re insomnia is accompanied with an elevated heart rate it could be that you are simply dehydrated.
• Make sure you are comfortable at night – not too hot, etc. • Avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine late at night.
• Try a relaxing bath with some sleep promoting essential oils – chamomile, lavender or passionﬂower.
• Do not eat too late, and if you do, go for a walk after to promote digestion.
• Meditation has been shown to increase the body’s production of GABA, serotonin and melatonin.
• Supplement with l-theanine, which has been shown to increase GABA, serotonin and melatonin levels in the brain. The best food source of l-theanine is high quality green tea.
• Provide the body with the building blocks to make serotonin. Either by taking its precursor 5HTP or taking the nutrients to support the bodies production of 5HTP = folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin B6, zinc and the amino acid tryptophan (found in almonds, sesame seeds and walnuts).
Natural Supplements for Sleep
- Avena Sativa – Good for high stressed adults and hyperactive children • Valerian Hops complex – for adults who ﬁnd it hard to sleep and children who don’t sleep.
- Hypericum Complex – For menopausal women who ﬁnd their sleep patterns disrupted by the change in hormones.
- California poppy – Ideal for children. An effective and safe relaxing herb.
- Lemon Balm – Calms the stomach, which can be the cause of a restless night. Try Melissa Dream or Lamberts L’Theanine and Lemon Balm Complex.
- Night Essence – A ﬂower remedy ideal for anxiety and stress related insomnia.
- Kalms Sleep – An effective natural remedy for occasional sleeplessness.
- Pukka Night time capsules – a herbal sleep remedy to help grown and settle the body and mind.
Gavin Knott & Georgie Wingfield-Hayes