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Say Goodbye to Stress: 5 Scientifically-backed strategies for stress management

February 25, 2022

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Feeling stressed out? You’re not alone.

Chronic stress is epidemic and Americans are among the most stressed out populations in the world with more than one in three people experiencing stress on a daily basis.[1]

Stress triggers the “fight or flight” response: It tells your body to prepare for danger, spiking levels of adrenaline and cortisol, the stress hormone, so you can react quickly to danger. It’s the perfect biological reaction to a threat but the repeated activation of the stress response can take a toll on your health. Chronic stress is associated with a host of health conditions ranging from headaches, insomnia and obesity to high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.[2]

News about the coronavirus might be making stress worse. A recent poll found that the international pandemic has 70 percent of Americans feeling stressed.[3]

You can combat stress with a combination of healthy lifestyle choices such as exercise, nourishing foods, meditation, restful sleep and making time for hobbies. In addition to making these habits part of your daily routine, natural supplements for stress could also give you a boost.[4]

Let's take a look!

Probiotics modify the intestinal flora in your belly, which support the immune system. When they're working at their best, they can alter the natural course of allergic reactions. Certain foods, such as sauerkraut and kimchi, call upon the fermentation process to create good bacteria that help ward off bad things that can make you feel ill. You can also get a healthy dose of probiotics through oral vitamins, which is particularly great if you're averse to stinky fermented foods.

Break a sweat

Exercise is a natural stress buster. It produces endorphins, “feel good” hormones that act as natural painkillers and also improves mood and alleviates feelings of depression and anxiety.[1]

Pick the activities you love most: Take a hike, ride your bike or swim laps—as long as your heart is pumping hard, it’ll help alleviate stress.

Exercising with a group might be particularly effective. Research found that working out with others lowered stress levels but 26 percent.[2] You might not be able to attend a group fitness class, join a pickup basketball game or go jogging with a friend right now but consider virtual exercise classes or call a friend to catch up while you take your daily walk. The effects last long after the workout ends, according to a study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.[3]

Adopt adaptogens

When it comes to herbal supplements for stress, rhodiola is one of the best. The herb, also known as arctic root or golden root, grows in cool mountain regions in Europe and Asia.

Rhodiola is an adaptogen, a group of medicinal plants that strengthen your response to stress. Like all adaptogens, rhodiola, an extract made from the Rhodiola rosea plant, provides resistance to stress and related symptoms, including exhaustion and fatigue.[4]

The supplement is believed to control the release of stress hormones[5] and has anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory effects that can provide protection against stress-related diseases such as heart attack and stroke.[6]

Rhodiola is also hailed for its ability to reduce stress-related symptoms such as fatigue and depression, leading researchers to claim, “Rhodiola rosea extracts…can impose cellular and systemic benefits similar to the effect of positive lifestyle interventions.”[7] Rhodiola may even prevent chronic stress.[8]

Get a good night’s rest

The American Psychological Association Sleep in America study found that 43 percent of Americans said stress interfered with their sleep.[9] The more stressed you are, the harder it is to sleep well and fatigue also exacerbates stress, creating a vicious cycle.

If stress has you lying awake at night, the combination of natural botanicals, including California poppy, L-Theanine and passiflora extract, in Sleep Aide, can help you drift into dreamland. The supplement also contains melatonin, which promotes sleep and reduces cortisol levels.[10]

A supplement containing passiflora extract was found to decrease insomnia, increase the time spent in slow wave (deep) sleep and reduce anxiety and stress; California poppy has a sedative effect that could help you fall asleep; and L-Theanine promotes relaxation and reduces anxiety, making it easier to drift into dreamland.[11],[12],[13]

Support your adrenal system

Stress taxes your adrenal glands, the small organs that secrete cortisol and adrenaline when the fight or flight response kicks in. Prolonged exposure to stress is believed to lead to adrenal fatigue, a state associated with fatigue, low mood and lightheadedness.

Adrenal support is among the best supplements for stress and anxiety because it provides a combination of whole adaptogenic herbs such as ashwaganda root and eleuthero root extract to balance hormones and boost the immune system, induce calm and combat stress.

Ashwaganda root, also known as Indian ginseng, is believed to boost resilience against stress[14]. Research shows that, in adults who described themselves as “highly stressed,” ashwaganda root was associated with significant reductions in depression, anxiety, stress and lower levels of cortisol.[15] Eleuthero root extract is an adaptogen bolsters the immune response and helps fight against stress.[16]

Brew a mug of tea

The piping hot beverage has been shown to reduce stress hormones, elevate mood and even ward off depression.[17],[18] Tea drinkers reported falling asleep easier and feeling less stressed and lowered levels of cortisol, making it easier to deal with stressful situations.[19],[20] In addition to drinking tea, consider a supplement. L-Theanine, an amino acid found in green tea, is believed to have “neuroprotective effects” that can prevent the mental effects of stress.[21]

Brand new research linked a daily supplement containing 100 milligrams of L-Theanine had anti-stress effects; 250 milligrams per day was associated with significant stress reduction in those with major depressive disorder.[22]

Keeping stress in check requires a combination of stress management techniques. In addition to prioritizing exercise, meditation and a good night’s rest, herbal supplements can also play an important role in helping you feel healthier and less stressed.



Sources:

  1. https://www.gallup.com/analytics/248909/gallup-2019-global-emotions-report-pdf.aspx
  2. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/understanding-the-stress-response
  3. https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/coronavirus-impacts-disrupted-lives-elevated-stress-soaring-worry/story?id=69812058
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/suicide/copingwith-stresstips.html
  5. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/exercise-and-stress/art-20044469
  6. https://jaoa.org/article.aspx?articleid=2661140
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22895382
  8. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13651501.2017.1417442
  9. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13651501.2017.1417442
  10. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13651501.2017.1417442
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6208354/
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29325481
  13. https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2013/sleep
  14. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-54806-7
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4609799/
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5699852/
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6366437/
  18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3252722/
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31517876
  20. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0944711320300143
  21. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061004173749.htm
  22. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/10/9/1201
  23. https://www.ucl.ac.uk/media/library/tea
  24. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5537891/
  25. https://europepmc.org/article/med/31145971
  26. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6836118/

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