Anxiety and stress has controlled me for a good portion of my life.
I think all the way back to when I was in college (yes, it was a LONG time ago). I didn’t realize it at the time, but anxiety held me back from doing so many things, especially from doing well in my studies. My good friend and college roommate Katie would quiz me before an exam, and I would know all of the information and be ready to go. The next day, it would be test time and I would freeze, lose the thoughts in my mind and forget everything I learned. The questions on the exam would stare me in the face and I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t remembering the answers. I knew them yesterday. What happened?
I would develop so much worry and uneasiness, and I wasn’t concentrating. That feeling has stuck with me all of my life.
Even when I was young, stress would just take over every time boys would come around. Dating made me uneasy. When it was time for me to go out on a date, my stomach would start turning and my breath would shorten. I was never able to carry on a conversation without feeling sick to my stomach. I would become so nervous I could never find enough things to talk about to keep the conversation going.
I wondered - what was wrong with me? Now, as I’ve been doing more research and educating myself on health and wellness, I realized that nothing was ever wrong with me, it’s stress!
When the body undergoes stress and anxiety, the adrenal system produces an excessive amount of the stress hormone cortisol. That hormone production leads the liver to produce more glucose, the high-energy blood sugar that engages your “fight or flight” reactions. For most people, this extra blood sugar in the body can be simply reabsorbed with no real damage. However, for others, the extraneous blood sugar could potentially cause health issues:
Asthma like symptoms and shortness of breath
Bloating and diarrhea
Stress and anxiety won’t ever really go away completely as there are so many external sources of stress that we just don’t have control over. I’ve realized, however, I can control the way it impacts me and my body and mind. I’m more aware now when it happens and there are natural steps I take to remove it faster:
Lavender Essential Oil: It has a relaxing and peaceful fragrance that makes it suitable for a variety of uses, including calming, relaxation and sleep. Essential oils may be used aromatically or topically in a variety of ways including diffusers, massage, compresses, baths, scrubs, lotions and sprays.
Deep breathing: Mentally count your breath from one to twenty. Inhale on one, exhale on two, inhale on three and exhale on four. Continue to twenty and notice if your mind has thoughts or is clear. If you still have other thoughts, do another round until its clear.
Take a yoga class: I’ve been practicing yoga for about 8 years now, and when I hit the mat, I focus on what’s happening in class vs everything else from my day. Yoga is tied to decreasing stress and increasing balance and strength.
Meditation: There are many facilities that concentrate on meditation classes. Search for one near you, or try some apps that work well, especially for someone just getting started with medication. I would suggest Calm and Headspace.
NutriCalm - Courtesy of Nature’s Sunshine. During times of stress, the body rapidly loses B vitamins. B-complex vitamins support the nervous system and replenish needed nutrients. Nutri-Calm is a natural formulation designed to maintain a sense of calm and peace of mind.
Anxiousless - Courtesy of Nature’s Sunshine. Featuring Sceletium tortuosum, a time honored herb, and other key nutrients that replenish your body’s stress-coping reserves, AnxiousLess targets feelings of anxiousness from multiple paths without a sense of drowsiness.
Stress is all around, but taking a few small steps to keep it in check, will make a big difference in your health.