It’s almost impossible to exist in today’s world without stress. We all feel it, whether it’s pressure of job, home, kids, health, or finances. And now we’re “lucky” enough to have cell phones so your office, kids, spouse, best friend in crisis, or child’s teacher (you name it!) can find you any time, any place.
Every day, our personal time shrinks. Never before in history have we had so much to do: we rarely get a chance to catch our breath. We consider it an indulgence if we can squeeze in the time to simply sit and enjoy a cup of tea, read a book for the sheer pleasure of it or take a long leisurely walk in the woods.
Stress is taking a huge toll on our health. The American Psychological Association estimates that 75% of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress-related problems and 75% of us have reported we feel “great stress” at least one day a week.
A 2007 study by he American Psychological shows that more than one-third of Americans suffer extreme stress on a daily basis.
Unresolved stress that plagues almost all of us can lead to a downward spiral of depression and anxiety, and cause a wide range of physical problems from headaches and heart disease to weight gain, gastrointestinal problems – and more.
Stress is in our lives whether we like it or not. You might find some rather surprising causes of stress in your life if you complete this questionnaire on our website. www.8weekstovibranthealth.com/stress-questionnaire.
The real question is this: How do we deal with it? Until you find a way to resolve and release your stress, you’re creating a vicious cycle than can cause serious damage to your health over time. Sometimes called chronic or toxic stress, it overrides your body’s natural abilities to bounce back, chronically raising stress hormones and suppressing your immune system.
This makes you vulnerable to colds, flu and all kinds of other illnesses. We don’t want to scare you, but this fact has been scientifically validated: People who are diagnosed with various types of cancer have frequently undergone a major life stress, such as the breakup of a marriage, a bankruptcy or the illness or death of a close family member in the previous year or so.
The first step in addressing toxic stress is to recognizing the stressors in your life, and take action to break the stress cycle. Then we’ll offer you some long-term methods to keep stress from spiraling out of control.
Here are the signs of stress to watch for:
- muscle tension
- irregular, shallow breathing
- pounding heart
- butterflies in stomach
- sweaty palms
The simplest and fastest way to address stress is through your breath. Dr. Andrew Weil offers a simple breathing technique that I have been recommending to my patients for years. It breaks the stress cycle, shifting your body from the stress response to the relaxation response in no time. And the more you do it, the better you’ll feel.
Repeat this four times:
- Inhale slowly through your nose to the count of four.
- Hold your breath to the count of 7.
- Exhale slowly through your pursed lips (like blowing through a straw) to the count of eight.
That’s it. Simple! All you need to do is repeat this at least twice a day, more if you recognize the signs of stress. Do it at stoplights, in line at the marker, or at your desk.
There are also a number of natural supplements that can help you through stressful times: calming ones such as theanine, GABA, glutamine, taurine, magnesium and B-vitamins. These can be found in Dr. Cass’ CALM Natural Mind Formula. Add in valerian as in Dr. Cass’ Nightly CALM for a great sleep formula. Then to restore and maintain energy that is depleted due to stress, you can take adaptogens, a class of herbs that support the over-worked adrenals. See Dr. Cass’ Energy Balance Formula. For specifics on how to use them and dosages, please see our book, 8 Weeks to Vibrant Health: A Take Charge Plan for Women.
Please join us for the 8 Weeks to Vibrant Health teleseminar on Taming the Stress Monster starting Thursday, April 16.
If you’ve missed to earlier segments, you can easily catch up.
When the series is complete, we’ll be making a coaching package containing recordings of all the sessions available for purchase.