How Stress Affects your Body and 10 Ways to reduce stress naturally
Stress is an inevitable part of life. Though people may try hard to avoid it whenever they can, stress will find its way into work, home, and many other aspects of life. It is more than just an annoyance that will eventually pass; stress can be quite damaging to your health. Studies have shown that stress can negatively affect the immune system, respiratory system, and digestive tract. In fact, it is estimated that over 80% of work-related accidents are due to employees’ inability to cope with stress. The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work reported that about 50% of job absenteeism is stress-related. Even worse, about 180,000 people die every year in the UK as a result of stress-related illnesses. The good news is that there are solutions to reduce stress naturally.
Understanding how stress affects people requires an understanding of the stress hormones and the damage they can do to the body.
Cortisol: Released by the adrenal glands, cortisol is released as a natural response to stress. When triggered, the release of cortisol will increase the amount of glucose in the blood stream for a quick burst of energy while enhancing the brain’s ability to use it. When there is glucose in the blood stream, insulin is required to metabolize it. Insulin is a fat storage hormone. This means that constant stress can potentially lead to weight gain.
Adrenaline: When startled, the adrenal glands will also release adrenaline. This stress hormone will increase both heart rate and blood pressure while also boosting the body’s supply of energy. Regular stress can result in hypertension.
The Traditional Chinese Medicine View of Stress
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), stress and anger are both associated with the liver. Whenever you experience an emotional change, the liver qi is the affected, which results in disharmony throughout the body. When the body is in a state of “fight or flight”, stress hormones are released. If this happens regularly, then the body is at risk of all the aforementioned side effects of too much adrenaline and cortisol.
Symptoms of Long-Term Stress According to Chinese Medicine
Digestion: The spleen’s function in digestion is dependent upon the liver qi. When there is any sort of dysfunction associate with the liver, the activity of the digestive system may also suffer.
Insomnia: As stress does a number on the liver, it can cause liver qi stagnation. This stagnation turns into what is referred to in TCM as fire. As a result, those experience stress may struggle to fall asleep or suffer from an inability to sleep.
Headache: As liver qi stagnation turns to fire due to continued stress, headaches are another uncomfortable side effect.
Weak Immune System: Qi deficiency in the lungs and spleen can wreak havoc on the immune system. Those suffering from lung-spleen qi deficiency have been shown to be more prone to coming down with the common cold.
Lower Brain Activity: As stress depresses patients, studies have shown that this can lead to a decrease in brain activity in the frontal cortex.
10 ways to reduce stress naturally
1. Meditate to reduce stress naturally: Meditation is one of the easiest ways to relieve stress. A simple way to meditate is to simply take time out to breathe deeply. For example, sit down in a comfortable spot and take 100 deep breaths.
2. Diet: Avoid what are known as hyperpalatable foods. These are foods that are typically high in calories such as sugar and fast food. Instead, stick with lean proteins and healthy fats.
3. Drink Herbal Tea: Theanine is a mood enhancing amino acid that is present in herbal tea. It improves sleep quality and can decrease depression.
4. Exercise: Like meditation, exercise is a great stress reliever because it requires the brain to take its attention away from stress. Low intensity exercise reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Taking long walks, practicing yoga or qigong, and bicycling are low intensity exercises that are a great way to relieve stress.
5. Acupuncture can reduce stress naturally: Used in TCM for thousands of years, acupuncture can also help to reduce physiological stress. It does so by helping to balance both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. Learn more about acupuncture here.
6. Massage: Thanks to its beneficial effects on heart rate, massage therapy can reduce stress and can be a relaxing way to treat yourself after a long workweek.
7. Acupressure: If you are unable to locate an acupuncture practitioner in your area, acupressure can be carried out at home. Stimulating pressure points will reduce the anxiety that is associated with stress.
8. Relax and nourish your mind and body: Give yourself a break from the everyday stressors in life. Set aside time to relax with a nourishing meal or beverage.
9. Add herbs and herbal supplements to your diet: In TCM, there are many herbs that provide ways to reduce stress. Gingko Biloba, Suan Zao Ren, and Chai Hu have been used to help with the anxiety and insomnia that accompany stress. These can be found online and in local herbal shops.
10. Take time away from social media and turn off the phone: This one of the best ways to relieve stress as it is both simple and free. In order to relax the mind and avoid further stressors, turn off your phone. Instead, consider reading a book or treating yourself to a healthy snack.
Though stress is a part of life, it does not need to bring with it all of the side effects that can be damaging to your health. Simple changes like low impact exercise, meditation, herbal teas, supplements, and treating yourself to a relaxing day of massage will do wonders to help reduce the negative effects that chronic stress can bring.
Ginkgo Biloba is a widely used and top-selling herbal tablet. Ginkgo biloba herb is extracted from the leaves of the Ginkgo biloba tree and is known for its memory and concentration-boosting benefits. These powerful Ginkgo biloba tablets can be easily added to your daily routine. It contains natural compounds to improve blood circulation and offers a range of health benefits, including improving cognitive function, brain fog, and focus.
Suan Zao Ren Tang
Suan Zao Ren Tang is a jujube seed supplement by GinSen. Based on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine, this sleep supplement works to improve sleep quality to relax your mind and help with sleep complaints such as nervousness, neurasthenia, anxiety, poor sleeping, light sleeping or easily waking up.
Bupleurum Root (Chai Hu)
Bupleurum Root is a herb that is used widely in Chinese Medicine for its detoxification ability. It offers natural anti-inflammatory properties and contains active ingredients which improve the general functioning of the Liver and boosts adrenal glands’ functions.
For more information about how Chinese Medicine can help you to reduce stress naturally, book your free consultation with our Chinese Medicine experts today
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We can’t guarantee the treatment result, as the symptoms of conditions are unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person. The treatment length and recovery time also varies for individual. Please visit our clinics website: GinSen where a specialists will discuss your care and provide a consultation, and the treatment will be designed to meet your individual needs.