Stress and anxiety are normal reactions of the body to imminent danger or to the perception of danger (which is not necessarily danger in reality). They are accompanied by a secretion of hormones - cortisol and adrenaline - which promote alertness and activation, and which are necessary to face these dangers or threats and to find solutions.
However, because they “pause” functions considered non-vital to combat this danger - such as digestion, immunity or sexual and reproductive functions - these reactions become problematic when they become too intense or disproportionate to to the stimulus which precipitates them, too lasting or too frequent. So how to combat stress naturally? Here are our best tips:
Regulate your blood sugar
A diet rich in industrial foods, flours and refined sugars causes spikes in blood sugar (blood sugar levels) followed by reactive hypoglycemia which leads to the famous pump: a strong feeling of fatigue, and a compulsive need to sugar (be careful of the vicious circle!). If they occur regularly, reactive hypoglycemia promotes chronic fatigue in the medium term, a decline in concentration and alertness, as well as an increase in stress levels and the appearance of anxiety disorders.
In practice: avoid processed products, which are often too sweet. Adopt a low glycemic index diet mainly composed of non-starchy vegetables, but also whole grains and fruits as snacks. And finally, always add quality fats and proteins to your dishes, to lower their glycemic index and help maintain a stable mood.
Take care of the quality of your sleep
Studies show that sleep deprivation significantly amplifies our brain's anticipatory activity. This anticipation is a survival mechanism and serves to prepare us for dangerous situations. But when it is exacerbated, chronic and turns into hyper reactivity, it becomes harmful and can lead to stress and anxiety disorders.
In practice :
- Try to sleep in the dark
- Maintain a good temperature in your room (around 19°C).
- Go to bed at the same time every day (roughly!)
- Cut off screens and electronic devices at least 1-2 hours before bed.
The caffeine contained in coffee and tea is a strongly stimulating substance that promotes the release of cortisol and adrenaline, stress hormones that make us feel awake, alert and more productive but can also generate great anxiety, increasing pulse, blood pressure, and sweating and by blocking the secretion of adenosine, a substance that helps relax our brain. Furthermore, coffee is considered acidifying, which means that its metabolism mobilizes a very large quantity of minerals, sometimes leading to deficiencies, particularly of magnesium, a mineral which plays a key role in physical and emotional relaxation. It is a very effective remedy for muscle tension.
In practice: if you are an anxious or stressed person, replace tea or coffee with hot, non-caffeinated drinks such as infusions and herbal teas, or chicory.
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The body's response to stress triggers a surge of hormones that prepares the body to fight or flee... even when the threat is not a predator but an email from your boss or a remark from your spouse and you sit nicely at your desk or on your couch. However, when this excess energy generated is not used, the adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol secreted will circulate freely in your blood for several hours after the disappearance of the “threat” causing irritability, nervousness and anxiety, and aggravating anxiety disorders and depression.
In practice: practice mindful movement activities like yoga, tai chi or chi kung that will help you connect to the sensations in your body and regulate them through movement.
Stimulate your vagus nerve
Experts in neuropsychology are increasingly interested in the link between the vagus nerve and stress. The vagus nerve is part of a branch of the nervous system that activates when we rest, repair, and relax: the parasympathetic nervous system. However, when the vagus nerve is not sufficiently invigorated, we may have difficulty achieving states of calm and serenity. We then remain “stuck” in states of alert and overactivation (called fight or flight mode in psychology) which, when they become chronic, can generate anxiety and depression.
In practice :
- Maintain positive social relationships
- Expose yourself to the cold (by finishing your showers with cold water, for example)
- Practice abdominal breathing or cardiac coherence daily (5 minutes a day is enough)
Discover the relaxing power of plants
Phytotherapy, or the use of plants for their medicinal properties, is a very effective way to combat the negative effects of stress . Long considered simple grandmother's remedies, adaptogenic plants are particularly appreciated today for their ability to balance, restore and protect the nervous system. They help the body to regain normal physiological functions after a stressful situation.
In practice :
- Take r hodiola, ginseng or ashwagandha cures, which are the plants best known for strengthening energy and combating the effects of stress .
- Although not an adaptogen, griffonia is a plant that contains 5 HTP, a precursor of serotonin which is extremely useful in combating anxiety disorders. He also takes treatment.
- Prepare valerian infusions, used for thousands of years in the treatment of nervousness, anxiety disorders and sleep disorders.
Adopt essential oils
Essential oils are the soul of flowers and plants: powerful extracts that, in small quantities, can provide us with an enormous amount of benefits. Essential oils are the product of the distillation of natural elements, such as flowers, trees, leaves, wood, resins, roots and fruit peels, from which all their wonderful healing properties are extracted. Their medicinal use is called aromatherapy. The most useful anti-stress essential oils are: lavender, neroli, ylang ylang, Petit Grain Bigarade and all oils from citrus fruits (lemon, grapefruit, bergamot, mandarin, etc.).
In practice :
- Add 10 drops of your favorite essential oil to your bath and maximize your state of relaxation
- Use an essential oil diffuser to breathe in their aroma and get a subtle dose of well-being
- Dilute a few drops of essential oils in your favorite cream or oil and take the time to treat yourself to a little relaxing massage
And of course, reduce stress factors arising from your lifestyle by maintaining a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, quality proteins and good fats, avoiding overwork at work, and limiting your exposure to toxic or controversial substances. from household products and cosmetics.
- https://www.passeportsante.net/sante-mentale-et-emotive-c41/vaincre-le-stress-46 :