Sunday, January 17, 2010

Stress Head

The kids are not ready, you can't put together an outfit to wear, the keys are hidden somewhere and you should have left thirty minutes ago. Mmmm sound familiar, to assist in this stress the body, has ways of rising to the challenge and preparing yourself to respond, the hypothalamus reacts initially by releasing stress hormones, the memory becomes more acute, your pupils dilate, the mouth dries up, immune system becomes impaired, the heart rate and the strength of contraction increases, your blood pressure rises, the lungs dilate, digestion slows down, sweat secretion increases and your blood glucose increases and often you will need to urinate more frequently. Now your body is prepared and activated for anxiety.

These amazing responses have evolved over time as a mechanism coined 'fight or flight'. These responses are what has kept our human ancestors alive, preparing for battle or escape, by improving their ability to perform under pressure and deal with outrunning a tiger or battling an army. Now days these same responses are used continually in our daily lives for different reasons, meeting the deadline? Being at work on time, and for more serious issues. Stress can be a good motivator sometimes, pushing you outside of your comfort zone, forcing you to deal with issues, but continual activation of these mechanisms can prove to be quite detrimental to the body and human psyche. The consequences can range from feelings of continual hostility, crying, and constant anxiety to over-eating and inability to sleep.

There are ways to deal with stress, that don't involve burning out and one of the most important in my opinion, is an adequate diet that caters for the increased needs of B-Vitamins, the stress vitamins,(good sources are organic bananas, organic broccoli, leafy organic green vegetables, wholegrains, lentils, salmon, nuts, sunflower seeds, free-range organic eggs) which affect the nervous system and calcium (found naturally in sesame seeds, organic dairy foods, leafy organic green vegetables, organic soy and tofu, nuts, and fish) which counteracts the lactic acid that your body produces when your muscles are continually tensed. As well as the vitamins C and A, which are depleted. (Try organic broccoli, organic parsley, organic capsicums, organic strawberries, oranges, carrots)

A well balanced diet does amazing things for our body's ability to deal with anything, and inconjuction with the following should help in keeping stress at bay…..

Try moving your body, go for a walk or a run

Hang out with people that you love, have a laugh with your friends and family

Take some deep breaths

Set yourself realistic goals and deadlines

Try avoiding drinking alcohol, smoking and Coffee.

Watch what you are thinking; be aware of your inner chatter.

Seek help if it all feels like too much.

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