Welcome to Stress, The Most Populated Space in the World
Stress is killing us faster than all the known diseases combined. It shuts down our glands, cuts off circulation, eliminates the ability to enjoy life, refuses food and makes staying under the covers seem like the only safe place in the world. Don’t let stress take away your life. There are ways to minimize the effects of stress, even if you can’t change the sources of stress. Learn how you can live with your choices healthfully. It is said that the brain secretes our own personal reality. In fact, the brain and the central nervous system control not only our perception of the world and our own bodies, but also our reaction to every second of every day. The support, development and repair of nerve tissue is essential to keeping us alive, keeping our thoughts flowing and enabling us to enjoy the feelings that being alive brings. Circulation is also critical to bring oxygen to the brain and to help support the circulation of cerebro-spinal fluid. Without these necessary fluids, the nerves and the brain would deteriorate rapidly.
We also seem to forget that the brain and nerves are living cells, just like our skin, muscles and organs. So they need food, including essential fatty acids which build the myelin sheath around the nerves. Tuna oil is amazing for providing essential fatty acids for neurological health and development. Minerals are the determining factor in our electrical activity balance in the brain and vitamins control our moods and our thoughts. We also are just beginning to realize that the neurotransmitter chemicals in the brain that create our emotions actually flow throughout the channels of our entire body interacting with cellular receptors in the digestive system, our muscles, the liver and even the heart. So love as an emotion is actually physically present in chemical form within our hearts.
So, our emotional balance and mental health are dependent on a free flow of chemicals, sufficient nutrition to create reserves of these chemicals and a relaxed environment in which our glands can function fully.
OK, now let’s face the fact that stress is an integral part of your life. So how does that relate to our emotional and mental health? When you identify something as stressful, this triggers a cascade effect within your endocrine system beginning with the hypothalamus and ending in the body tissues. A group of chemicals are released by the adrenals which can both affect your mood and change the way in which the body functions. Since the body views stress as a threat, it shifts circulation, nutrition and energy to the muscles of movement and away from your organs and glands. This shift will also cause you to release nutrients faster in the urine and through the intestinal system as waste.
"S.A.D.ness", the experience of Stress, Anxiety and Depression affects thousands of people. Fatigue, anger and frustration all can be the result of being told over and over that what you feel is simply in your head. That is only partly true. When the mind acknowledges stress, whether of an emotional or physiological origin, it reacts by changing normal function. Mental states such as depression and anxiety are brought about by these changes, which affect large groupings of neurotransmitter chemicals and hormones not just in the brain, but also in the body. Since these are based on circulation in order to reach target tissues in the brain, it is an easy thing for a lack of circulation to reduce the effectiveness of these vital biochemicals.
And how does circulation become restricted? Feel that tension in your neck, are your shoulders around your ears? The body will restrict circulation in an effort to limit the movement of bacteria and invading substances. But this can at the same time reduce the movement of oxygen and nutrition. Waste products will build up at a cellular level, since the removal process relies on circulation. These changes will reduce digestive action, wear out the body’s reserves of hormones and glandular secretions and shut down non-essential bodily functions, such as libido and appetite. When this process is sustained for too lengthy a period of time, debilitating effects can result.
Therefore circulation is a key component of health in every situation, not just under stressful circumstances, and blood is the defining format of health. Massage Therapy is one of the best treatments to increase circulation and interrupt this vicious cycle of dysfunction, allowing nutrition to restore normal glandular function and proper levels of essential biochemicals. Also, herbal combinations designed to ease the mind, increase circulation of these vital neurochemicals and reduce the effects of stress on the body can change the biochemical effects of stress.
Amazingly, this holistic approach can actually change the way you view your life every day. It can change the perception of stress and the emotional instability that you may have lived with for years. So what can you do?
Begin with anxiolytic or calming herbs to help reduce the tension in the nervous system. I prefer Corydalis, Valerian and Passion Flower. At the same time, it is essential to tonify the nervous system with herbs such as Skullcap, Damiana, Bacopa and Vervain. Even Cramp Bark and Chamomile can be great if you hold all your tension in your stomach, or Hawthorn can help to reduce the racing heart feeling. This grouping alone will make a big difference in how you face each day.
The next step is to support the endocrine glands that are being bashed every day, particularly the Thyroid and the Adrenals. I will always begin with organic iodine, either in Bladderwrack or as a tablet formula with a 1:1 ratio of iodine to iodide. I will give a large dinner dose, if insomnia is a strong issue, along with a separate tonic for sleeping with California Poppy, Spiny Jujube seeds and Valerian. Then I will give Standard Process Drenamin for complete adrenal nutrition, a great tonic of Ashwaganda, Schisandra, Rehmannia and Eleuthero for adrenal restoration and even an adrenal dessicate if morning energy is something you thought only children have.
Don’t forget food! I don’t mean Dunkin’ Donuts on the way to work, or pizza at lunch. I’m talking about nutrition. You cannot face daily stress without large amounts of the vitamins and minerals that your body is using up at a sprinter’s pace. So be sure to include time for eating, and if not, then at least complex nutritional formulas made from organic natural food. I prefer Standard Process’s SP Complete, Catalyn or Cyrofood. You can’t find a more comprehensive formula, and Catalyn has been around since 1923!
Now for the mind — everyone needs to talk through difficult issues. And everyone needs a way to dump all the fears, worries and insecurities that fill the crevices of the mind every day. Consider yoga, meditation or even just sitting in a field and breathing in the smell of fresh air. You cannot expect to carry the stress of the world without restoration. So pace yourself, every day, because even the strongest muscles will give out under constant stress.