Anxiety, Fear, Stress……
It took me a long time to admit that I was struggling with my mental health. The birth of my daughter really highlighted how much I was struggling. Even then, it took me years to get help.
I felt lonely. I felt tired. I felt sad.
I used to drop my children off at school and then drive to work. Whilst driving, I would start crying and I was unable to stop. I felt really sad.
When I picked my children up from school and I had to stand at the school gate, I would think that all of the other parents were talking about me. I felt judged and I always felt like the odd one out. I felt lonely.
I felt empty and I felt bad because I had two wonderful children, a fantastic husband and a good job. Why was I feeling so down in the dumps?
Thankfully, my GP listened to me and he got me professional help. Today I feel much better. I do have good days and not-so-good days but overall, things are much better for me. I have good friends and a wonderful family to support me.
I have put together some information that you may find helpful curtesy of Viridian and remember you can always contact us if you have any queries or questions.
Stressed out, burnt out, can’t sleep.
From mild worry, irritability, low mood and difficulty sleeping to more severe symptoms of anxiety, depression, insomnia and burnout, the effects of chronic stress are often serious, relentless and very common.
It is estimated that 29% of people will at some point suffer from persistent anxiety, up to 18% from major depressions, and an alarming 25% of people suffer severe stress, fatigue and burnout. Almost 20% of people have difficulty sleeping, which is strongly related to chronic stress.
Types of Stress.
Stress can re-wire your brain chemistry so you are constantly worried, anxious and can’t sleep (strung out). Chronic stress can also progress to chronic fatigue, leaving people flat, depressed and constantly tired (burnt out).
Fortunately with lifestyle changes and natural support you can balance your nervous system and bounce back from the effects of stress.
Keep calm & focused.
Feeling strung out, restless, anxious, tense, nervous and irritable is a common set of stress related symptoms. A number of studies have shown that certain natural supplements can help safely and quickly ease symptoms and improve mental focus. Slow breathing at six breaths per minute for 10 minutes significantly reduces your sympathetic nervous system activity and blood pressure. (Viridian)
Bounce back and build resilience.
Your happiness is related to the happiness of others even up to three degrees of separation; including close friends, neighbours, co-workers and relatives. Happier people do not experience less stress and adversity in their lives but rather they have more social support and a higher level of social connectedness.
A 60-minute yoga session has been shown to increase the anti-stress neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) by 27%. (Viridian)
Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, waking too early or not feeling refreshed the next morning are problems that plaque a lot of people, about 1 in 5 in fact.
Research has shown that constant activation of your brain and nervous system in a big part of the problem. Being wired all the time keeps you alert, disturbs your sleep and causes daytime fatigue.
Natural remedies including glycine, cherry, red date and magnesium may help calm your mind, improve your sleep and can leave you feeling more energetic the next day without any sedative effects.
Just one session of exercise has been shown to increase the time you sleep by an hour. (Viridian)
Lifestyle changes to help you cope with stress.
Your daily lifestyle has a profound and often underestimated effect on your ability to deal with stress. In a vicious cycle, when we are under pressure our diet and lifestyle often suffers making things much worse.
Lack of exercise, unhealthy food and not taking time out to relax can set you up for increased stress, poor coping and serious illness.
Nourish your brain and nervous system.
Eating well helps ensure a healthy mid and body. In fact, research has shown that natural, minimally processed, plant-based diets protect against the development of serious stress related illnesses like anxiety and depression. Eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grans and lean protein and skip the rest.
Switch on the feel good factor.
Regular physical activity is one of the most powerful anti-depressants and has been shown to ease anxiety and improve your sleep. It works by activating thousands of genes that literally “switch on” good health. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, like a brisk walk each day. It may surprise you just how great you will feel.
Get your inner hippy on with mind-body medicine.
Actually, mind-body practices are not “alternatives” any more and are used to medically treat stress related illness and improve quality of life. Best of all you can make them part of your lifestyle. Yoga and meditation in particular are very powerful mind-body medicine.
A – Z of Stress
Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera)
Is prized as a tonic and is used to promote physical and mental health, rejuvenate the body in debilitated conditions and increase longevity. Modern research supports its use as an effective and safe way to reduce anxiety and stress.
A daily B-Complex is a great way to get a quick energy boost and improve your mood. Generally improvements have been shown in scientific studies after about 30 days and the effects include improvements in mood, energy, cognition and mental vigour. Choose a supplement with extra vitamin B5 and you’ll be “high fiving” in no time.
Magnesium deficiency is very common and has been linked to symptoms of depression, anxiety and insomnia. It’s hard to get the recommended daily amount form food alone and you tend to need more if you are stressed, so consider a daily supplement if you are under pressure.
A diet low in omega-3 is stressful to body and mind. Higher intakes are linked to better mood, better adaptation to stress and better overall health.
Arctic root, as Rhodiola is known in its native environment of Siberia, is a tough little plant that has some remarkable anti-stress, anti-fatigue and mood enhancing effects. It works fast, so if you are feeling run down try a few weeks on Rhodiola for a pep up.
There are several human clinical studies showing that just 30mg of Saffron extract daily is as effective as medication for relieving mild depression and has no side-effects.
Several studies over the past three decades have shown 5-HTP to improve mood and support mental health.
Please consult your GP if you are currently taking prescribed antidepressants and thinking of taking a natural supplement.
Text and Information has been taken from Viridian Nutrition’s Natural solutions from your local health store booklet.
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