The America Institute of Stress and the American Psychological Association are both reporting that stress is rising and America’s #1 health problem.
We are stressed about work, inflation, the Ukraine war, climate change, gun violence, abortion rights, COVID-19, the health of our aging parents, our children's safety or grades... the list goes on...
This blog covers the three sources of stress, how our body reacts to stress and 5 tips for chilling out.
What causes stress?
There are three sources of stress; environmental, physical and emotional.
Environmental stress comes from any deviation away from our natural and ideal, living environment. Climate change fits here. If we are too hot, too cold, lack access to clean water and air or are exposed to toxins such as lead paint or asbestos we are experiencing environmental stressors.
Physical stress comes from when we perceive we are in imminent danger of our lives or wellbeing. In a war zone? Walking late at night in a crime ridden neighborhood? Roommate have COVID-19? These situations can all induce physical stress. This category also includes stress from injury.
Emotional stress is the last category. Difficult demands at work, fears that inflation is eating away at our ability to put food on the table, sudden loss of a loved one and a verbally abusive partner, school bully, parent, or sibling are all sources of emotional stress.
What happens when we are stressed?
Regardless what type of stress we are exposed to, the first response is to call on our bodies to make more energy.
Perhaps the best example here is the “fight or flight” reaction when faced with a physical danger. In this case, we release hormones (including adrenaline and cortisone) to accelerate our heart rate, move blood to our muscles and release stored glucose reserves to give us a boost of energy and strength. Too cold? We start shivering/contracting muscles to generate some heat.
Usually stress comes and goes and our bodies recover. When we are exposed to one or more stressors over an extended period of time we are constantly calling for more energy than we normally produce. When we call for more energy, we are spinning up our production of a toxic form of oxygen called reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS is an environmental stress that comes from inside our cells vs. from the environment we live in. Unfortunately ROS is "built in" to the chemistry that our mitochondria use to convert glucose and oxygen into higher energy forms. Unfortunately, when under chronic stress, the efficiency of the glucose/oxygen conversion process falls (scientifically this is called mitocondria dysfunction) hence why we feel tired or have brain fog.
ROS exposure and mitochondria dysfunction have been affiliated with many forms of chronic disease such as Alzheimer’s, cancer and kidney failure.
What can we do to chill out?
1) Boost your intake of anti-oxidants.
Antioxidants neutralize the toxic effects of ROS. Eicosadose Immune Booster contains nature’s most powerful antioxidant, astaxanthin coupled with hemp derived CBD which also has antioxidant properties.
2) Control your Anxiety
Stress is caused by the 3 sources above. Fortunately, most of the time the stress (or stressors) are not chronic, they come and go. Anxiety, on the other hand is our emotional reaction to stress and can persist well after the stress has gone away. Anxiety contributes to elevated oxidative stress but also is characterized by loss of sleep and muscle tension.
In talking with my customers, reducing anxiety is the the #2 cited reason for taking CBD supplements such as Green Serene Full Spectrum CBD.
(#1 is chronic pain relief).
3) Get a better night’s sleep.
I have blogged about sleep before here. Don't underestimate the value of 8 solid hours.
4) Curb your emotional eating behaviors
Let’s face it. The grocery store checkout aisle is stacked with sweets, fast fried food is everywhere and cookie smells are pumped outside to entice those who wander by.
Diets heavy on modern starches induces weight gain (physical stress) as well increased oxidative stress on our bodies.
We all “know” that THC (the psychoactive compound in marijuana) triggers the munchies. CBD has been shown to trigger the opposite effect. If you find yourself constantly snacking, consider CBD supplements to help control your urges.
5) Eliminate sources of stress
We feel stress when we are in a situation that we can’t control.
Take back control!
Easy to say but can be hard to do.
There is no single formula here. Some turn to mindfulness, exercise and meditation. Others leverage support groups like AAA to stay sober or dial abuse hotlines to gather the courage to dump their abusive partner. Others simply up and move out....hello draft dodgers, climate refugees or migrants seeking to avoid wars or gang violence in their home countries.
The key here is to recognize what type of stress you are facing and developing an intervention method that allows you retake control and minimize or eliminate the stress from your life.