Any mental and or physical response evident in an individual to stimulus, that is a physically or emotionally taxing stimulus or demand, originating from an internal or external source can be termed stress. Brief periods of stress and motions of tension are unavoidable and in our evolution as humans, we adapted to limited stress and adjusted well to it, persistent stress is a very different matter and if it occurs regularly, physical and mental health are adversely affected in the long term and stress that is constant is very unhealthy.
Personal problems and disappointments like financial troubles, family relationship problems and job pressures can all induce stress in an individual, stress is also caused as a response to traumatic events, both physical ones such as bodily injuries and illness or mental ones like death in a family.
In evolutionary terms we humans have a "flight or fight" response controlled by the brain to any potential danger or unpleasant situation we may face, it includes the secretion of certain hormones namely adrenaline or norardrenaline into the body from the adrenal glands, this is done to prepare the individual either to run or to fight it out.
The hormones such as the action hormone adrenaline and different types of the other stress hormones, are all released from two organs called the adrenal glands situated in the top part of the kidneys, these so called stress hormones have one main function, it is to bolster the body's stamina and to enable it to have strength and release controlled burst of energy either for use in confrontation or in escape.
Long-term exposure to stress on the system brings a lot of attendant problems and disorders in the person. Absolute exhaustion may overcome the person in the long term as accumulating and chronically high levels of the stress hormones exhaust both the nutrient and energy stores of the body completely.
Physical side effects of stress include raised blood pressure levels and high levels of cholesterol, which can become simply unmanageable and often disrupt heart functioning and cause damage to the blood vessels. The levels of sex hormones can plummet steeply and acid secretion in the stomach can zoom up uncontrollably leading to complications like peptic ulcers.
Mental competency can be depressed as glucose levels in the brain go very low and nervous tissue may undergo glucose starvation or deficits. The immune system of the person takes a combined hit from all these factors and can become considerably impaired and dysfunctional, this has attendant problems of its won resistance to pathogens, diseases and possible infection suffers.
Replenishing nutrient levels assumes importance as the body's reserves dwindle a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement is especially effective during stressful times as good nutrient levels lead to better ability to cope with the symptoms of stress.
Exhaustion and fatigue can be fought off by a healthy nervous and immune system, if they are bolstered and promoted by supplements of the vitamin B complex, which are very important for a healthy nervous and immune system in the body. Muscular tension can be minimized and the muscles of the heart can be soothed through supplements utilizing the essential minerals like calcium and magnesium on a daily basis during stressful times.
The adrenal gland strengthening property of the Siberian and the Panax ginseng, can also be very good choices as supplements for ensuring the orderly function of the adrenals. The term "adaptogens" is often used when describing the stress relieving herbs as they actively aid the body to "adapt" to external or internal stress factors.
The term "tonics" is also sometimes used to describe these herbs as well, as they can be said to "tone" the body and make it strong. The combination of all these herbs can be used together as they are very safe and will probably bolster each other's activities in the body of the patient.
In certain conditions and under special circumstances some of the other herbs and nutritional supplements given here, can be used as single treatments or in a combined form with each other or with the nutrients mentioned above.
To reduce the anxiety and nervous excitement occasioned by stressful events or states, and especially to do with those types of stressful situations that may exist or persist for up to three months can be treated by the kava herb, which is effective in exactly such cases, as it also needs supplementing over a prolonged period.
If you are unable to sleep at night because of worries and other stresses or tensions use melatonin as a supplement, the extract of the St. John's wort herb is to be used in the cases of the presence of a mild depression along with the persistent stress.
Commonly used essential oils for stress:
The importance of regular and mild to moderate aerobic exercises cannot be overemphasized; physical exertion is the greatest stress buster. Practice breathing exercises, along with the aerobic exercises, relaxation techniques such as the Indian style yoga, the Chinese style t'ai chi, and different forms of meditation can greatly reduce levels of stress, have a regular session of massage, and practice techniques such as biofeedback over the weekend or whenever you can spare the time for such activities.
Alkaloids such as caffeine and intoxicants like alcohol are best avoided. They can keep you up at night and the benefits of using them are usually counteracted by their peculiar side effects. Learn to cope well with life and new situation by attending or giving some time to psychological counseling and therapy and even religion.
People who love you can relieve you of a lot of stress and it is important to maintain and renew your social relationships. Good health is engendered by good relationships, even a pet dog or cat can greatly soothe your nerves, close friends and family members are all vital connections in your bid to beat stress and they may in fact be the most important factor in whether you succeed in reverting to a stress free life.
Kava, 250 mg thrice daily.
Panax ginseng, 100-250 mg two times daily.
Siberian ginseng, 100-300 mg thrice daily.
St. John's wort, 300 mg thrice daily.
Magnesium / Calcium, 250 mg magnesium and 250 mg calcium two times daily (take with food).
Melatonin, Before bedtime - 1-3 mg.