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New Worldwide Epidemic: Stress

By: Lola Frailey Wednesday September 23, 2020 comments Tags: healthy living, phytochemicals

Did you know? Stress can actually be a good thing.

Stress can be essential for survival. The "fight-or-flight" triggers the brain when to respond to danger. The danger is if the brain is triggered too much too often.

Did you know? According to the American Psychological Association, average stress levels in the United States rose from 4.9 to 5.1 on a scale from 1 to 10 in 2015. 

Types of Stress

The APA recognizes three different types of stress:

Acute stress
Acute stress is short-term and is the most common type of stress individuals experience. Acute stress is often caused by the pressure or events that have either recently occurred, or soon to occur.

Episodic acute stress
Individuals who frequently experience acute stress, or whose lives present frequent stress triggers have episodic acute stress. This type of stress can include too many commitments and poor organization or those who worry too much on a constant basis.

Chronic stress
This is the most harmful type of stress and extends for long periods of time. Chronic stress stems from when a person doesn’t see an escape from the cause of stress and stops seeking solutions. Chronic stress can become unnoticed and become part of an individual's personality if not addressed.

How the body changes when under stress:

Nervous System
The hypothalamus communicates to the adrenal glands to release stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol). These hormones increase your heartbeat and send blood rushing to the areas that need it most such as your muscles and heart. This prepares your body to be able to fight or flight in the case of an emergency. 

Did you know? This increase will also affect your blood pressure. When your blood pressure rises too much too often due to stress, you may have an increased risk of heart attack or stroke.

Digestive System
Under stress, your liver produces extra glucose (blood sugar) to boost your energy. When dealing with chronic stress, this constant surge of glucose could increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Stress can also affect the digestive system by an upset stomach or nausea.

Muscular SystemUnder stress, your muscles will tense in order to protect themselves from injury. If constantly under stress, your muscles may not get the opportunity to relax. Tight muscles can cause tension headaches, as well as back and shoulder pain.

Did you know? Doctors call the above muscle groups the “tension triangle.”

Signs of stress

Take control of stress before it takes control of you! 

Signs of stress can include:

  • Inability to concentrate
  • Poor judgment
  • Seeing only the negative
  • Anxious or racing thoughts
  • Constant worrying
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Diarrhea 
  • Nausea
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Frequently sick
  • Inconsistent sleep
  • Neglecting everyday responsibilities

Causes of Stress

We all react differently to stressful situations. 

Common events that can cause stress include:

  • Job issues
  • Money problems
  • Bereavement
  • Divorce
  • Chronic sickness

How to reduce stress in your life

Identify the stress in your life
When it comes to anything in life, including stress management, prevention and identification is key. While it’s easy to identify major stressors such as changing jobs, identifying the sources of chronic stress can be challenging. It’s easy to overlook how your own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors contribute to your everyday stress levels. 

Set aside time for you!
Go ahead, you have our permission. Give yourself some time each day just for yourself. Use it to organize your life, relax, and pursue something you enjoy. This can help you reset your brain and give it the break you desperately need. 

Remember: You can’t take care of others unless you are taken care of yourself. Sure, you’re worried about work deadlines, but maybe it’s your procrastination (due to chronic stress), rather than the actual job demands, that is causing the stress. Do yourself a huge favor and take care of you. You’ll be amazed how much one can accomplish with a clear head.

Understanding your body and your signs and symptoms of stress.
Knowing your stress indicators can help you be better at managing stress and reducing your exposure to stress. Feel your shoulders getting tense? It may be time to get up from your desk and take a brisk walk. Going outside is very beneficial for your health!

Laugh more often.
It's good for you! Laughter can help improve your immune system and mood. A study among people with cancer found that people in a laughter intervention group experienced more stress relief than those who were simply distracted. Need to laugh? Click here!

Say “NO”.
You have control of your life. One way is to say "no" more often. This is especially true if you find yourself taking on more than you can handle, as juggling many responsibilities can leave you feeling overwhelmed. It’s healthy to set and enforce personal boundaries. 

You are what you eat
Foods can promote stress and anxiety reduction. 

Here is our short list:

  • Walnuts: Walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids: A study showed that those who regularly consumed omega-3 fatty acids experienced a 20% reduction in stress symptoms.
  • Ashwagandha: Ashwagandha is an herb used in Ayurvedic medicine to help address stress symptoms. Several studies suggest that it's an effective herb.
  • Green tea: Green tea contains polyphenol, a natural antioxidant which may lower stress and anxiety by increasing serotonin (happy hormone) levels.
  • Kava kava: Studies have shown that kava kava can be used to help alleviate mild stress symptoms. Kava is also used as a sedative in the South Pacific.
  • Valerian: Valerian root contains valerenic acid. Valerenic acid can help increase GABA levels to lower anxiety.
  • Noni fruit: Speaking of GABA, Noni fruit can aid in increasing GABA levels thus reducing stress. The best way to receive these anti-stress properties is to consume the fruit raw. 

Grown on our family operated certified organic noni farm, the trees are lovingly cared for and the noni picked at their peak maturity for maximum potency. The fruit is then dried below 115 degrees Fahrenheit for over 60 hours locking all the noni goodness inside. No vitamins or enzymes were harmed in the making of Noni Fruit Leather. Ever! Whether it's gift giving or shoveling snow, from his tree to your doorstep, Steve Frailey has you covered.





Lola Frailey

About the Author: Lola Frailey