Whether we like it or not, stress is a fact of modern life, whether it’s the ongoing challenge of ‘managing’ life in this increasingly frantic world or coping with individual high stress events as life throws them at us. It is a natural reaction to events, our mind telling us to be alert and ready to navigate life’s difficulties. It only becomes a problem when that state of alertness becomes habitual. When we experience prolonged periods of worry and anxiousness so great that we start to become overwhelmed by them, then all sorts of things can go wrong. Firstly there’s the feeling itself, life’s joy becomes overshadowed by fear and worry and then other areas of life become affected. We don’t sleep well and don’t have the energy to function properly and our immune system brain fog imageand digestion come under pressure leading to sickness. Mental fog and poor or no decision making replace clarity of mind. Long term unresolved stress can lead to depression and isolation, not a pretty picture!
So whether you’re trying to cope with a tough period or event or fighting a longer battle to feel better remember the natural strategies and aids that can help. There are many herbal, homoeopathic and nutritional aids to combat excess stress, see our product of the month to see the effect some of these have on the body.

These are some lifestyle recommendations.

Eat plenty of whole grains, beans, nuts and green leafy vegetables, they provide B vitamins and Magnesium to support the adrenal glands. Fish, nuts, seeds and good vegetable oils help to balance your mood. Avoid tea and coffee which jangle the nerves (while matcha or powdered green tea can actually help them!) and be wary of alcohol (it’s actually depressive and in troubled times we’re more open to addiction).

Happy-JoggerTake ample exercise to help your body make endorphins (natural chemicals that help you to feel better).
Keep on doing the things you like to do be that hill walking, salsa dancing, cooking or reading romantic novels. You like doing them for a reason and this helps you to focus outside your problems.
Talk to someone (be it your lover, your mother or your best friend) but don’t keep it in and don’t feel alone! Professional counseling is an option when needed. In Wexford we have It’s Good 2 Talk: Tel: 053-9126596 email itsgood2talkwexford@gmail.com
Many therapies can help us through stressful times like Yoga (see our blogpost), Tai Chi, Meditation and Mindfulness. Check out holisticwexford.ie for a therapist near you.

A customer’s story

Another option is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). CBT aims to throw light on how our mental and emotional reactions and coping mechanisms learned in childhood might be sabotaging our happiness and peace of mind and how, once we’ve seen them for what they are, we can move beyond them. A customer gave us this account of how CBT had helped her.

I’ve always been a ‘stresshead’ and as a working mother of two small children, I have found that last few years particularly challenging in terms of managing my stress levels and my timetable.

I have always tried to support my body (and mind) with a combination of good diet, adequate sleep and courses of good multivitamins containing lots of B Vitamins.  However, a few months ago, I had a ‘moment’.  In my rush to leave work and collect children on time, I lost my wallet which of course contained my money, cards etc. but also my carpark ticket… with 12 minutes to collect my sons I felt overwhelmed and very close to tears.  Fortunately, a work colleague found my wallet where I had absentmindedly left it and I rushed off taking deep breaths in an effort to calm down.

I decided that things needed to change and so I made two decisions – one, I started taking Viridian’s Enhanced Rhodiola Complex as a direct supportive herbal supplement and, two, I  booked a CBT session with an excellent psychologist.  And I have to say, I feel much better.  As well as very sensible practical advice on managing my diary and timetable better she made me very aware of patterns of behaviour I have been employing since childhood.  She identified anxiety, ‘what if’ thoughts that I was having regularly and showed me the futility of this type of thinking.

It’s hard to put into words how it’s working but I find that greater self-awareness as well as better organisation have just calmed me down.  I’m definitely a work in progress but I rarely get the highly stressed panicky nauseous feelings now and interestingly, I’m not losing my phone/keys/wallet at inappropriate moments.  I think the Rhodiola Complex has helped me feel less stressed and more energised but I have to say that the CBT has been (and still is) pretty life changing.  I’m only sorry I didn’t try it sooner – I might have less lines around my eyes!

So there we have it! If you or someone you know is dealing with a stressful time give some thought to the strategies we’ve mentioned. They could be the road back to a happier you.

happiness road sign
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