- ‘1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem in any given year.’ by Mind
- Women who work full-time and have children under 13 report the greatest stress worldwide.
- Nearly one in four mothers who work full-time and have children under 13 feel stress every day.
- Globally, 23% of women executives and professionals and 19% of their male peers say they feel ‘super-stressed.’
When the mind feels an emotion, the body creates a reaction. For example, when we feel embarrassed, our face may flush red as blood surges to the surface of the skin. Unfortunately when we feel negative distressing emotions, our body produces stress hormones which suppress our immunity to illness and disease and prevents optimal digestion. Stressful emotions also cause tension and rigidity in muscles and joints leading to pain and poor movement. If the body is frequently bombarded with stress related stimulus for a prolonged period of time, our risk of suffering chronic conditions and disease is significantly increased. This in part, is caused by an imbalance in the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems that are vital to the health and optimal function of the human body. Modern day living is becoming faster and faster paced, people are working longer hours, have more responsibilities and live in times of uncertainty. Thankfully there are steps we can take to protect us and help us cope.
- Follow a low GI diet and keep blood sugars steady. When blood sugar levels dip too low, adrenal hormones begin to rise.
- Reduce caffeine and stimulants in the diet, especially in the evening. Let the nerves calm and allow the body to unwind and recover from the day. Studies have shown coffee drinkers take twice as long to fall asleep and sleep on average 2 hours less a night than non coffee drinkers.
- Avoid alcohol as although it initially relaxes the body, feelings of anxiety are merely temporarily suppressed and after-effects of alcohol can enhance and even create feelings of stress and anxiety.
- Folic acid, B6, Vitamin C and Tryptophan are nutrients that create the building blocks for the brain to make serotonin. Tryptophan can be found in chicken, cheese, tuna, tofu, eggs, nuts, seeds and milk. Eating these foods and nutrients can help control anxiety and stress levels and induce good sleeping habits. Lettuce and oats are also associated with inducing sleep, as is self-hypnosis.
- Supplementation of a multi-vitamin that contains 200mg folic acid, 20mg of vitamin B6, 10mg of Zinc and 100mg of Vitamin C can supply the brain with the nutrients it needs to turn Tryptophan into Serotonin and Melatonin. But all of these nutrients can be sourced from foods in the diet if preferred.
- Calcium and magnesium are minerals that calm. Magnesium can be found in almonds, cashew nuts, brewer’s yeast, buckwheat, brazil nuts, peanuts, pecan nuts, cooked beans, garlic, raisins, green peas, potato skin and crab, Calcium rich foods are real dairy products, almonds, brewer’s yeast, parsley, globe artichoke, prunes, pumpkin seeds, cooked dried beans, cabbage and seafood.
- The herb commonly known as Valerian, can be useful for sleep disorders, nervous over activity and anxiety.
- The chamomile flower, Matricaria recutita, is a mild sedative and relaxant and can help ease mild anxiety and nervous stress that can be associated with indigestion, inflamed skin and poor sleep. Drink a cup an hour before bed. Chamomile tea can be given to children from 6 months upwards to encourage relaxation and sleep during episodes of change such as teething.
- Exercise and yoga can help reduce levels of stress and anxiety and improve sleep quality. Avoid exercise late in the evening as this can energise the body and make it harder to sleep. Stretching and relaxing forms of yoga, pilates and movement therapy can also be calming, reduce muscle tension, release toxins helping reduce pain, inflammation and promote recovery.
- Hypnotherapy and Counselling can really help those suffering stress and anxiety as they teach techniques that help control and even remove symptoms. These methods of talking therapy can be used to progress the client towards a healthier future, one in which they control their stress rather than it controlling them. Visualisations, affirmations, breathing techniques and CBT are just some of the techniques used in Hypnotherapy and Counselling. If you or someone you know would benefit from talking about your stress and finding out more about Hypnotherapy and Counselling then please contact me here.