This may be a regular trend for some and just a part of life, which is largely true for almost all of us to some extent. Stress though is really a divine tool that allows us to grow and become stronger in all of our aspects of being- and it provides us with boosts of energy and wakefulness if we are ever in a dangerous situation and need to fight or choose flight.
Stress itself is beneficial. It signals to our bodies that we are need to rise to a challenge of some sort; the problem begins when we become overwhelmed. On a physical level when we work out our bodies at the gym: lifting weights or running long distances, even stretching, we are subjecting ourselves to a type of physical stress. The long-term process that follows a successful “workout” is miraculous- we expand.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!
Our cells are compelled to grow more in quantity and strength and sometimes size; all in order to deal with what we will encounter next! Our minds are extremely powerful tools- like our bodies, but it’s capacity is greater and therefore, naturally can become more stressed.
Like our physical being to which we can experience physical stress; our minds too are subject to mental stress often. The difference is that what we perceive as mental stress is usually over-stimulation or prolonged stimulation from hormones. After our sympathetic nervous system (“fight or flight” response) is activated in some way, our endocrine system will produce and excrete into our blood several different hormones. Hormones act as information transmitters that can last, because unlike neural transmission which is instant, hormones travel in the blood stream and take time to exhibit effects.
Fortunately people have learned much about this process over several millennia but modern science tells us that the focal points for mental stress are the dysfunctional production/excretion or lack there of hormones in our ENDOCRINE SYSTEM and therefore also our NERVOUS SYSTEM is involved. When these systems are functioning well, our stress capacity is great… but when they are tired, and overworked we can become stressed very easily, and by the smallest of things.
The hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis (connected group of endocrine glands), controls our short and long-term adaptation to stress as a whole, and here is where we can apply support to help us respond to stress in a more healthy way.
Herbal Adaptogens– Stress causes us to adapt.
An Adaptogen helps us increase our capacity to deal with all stressful situations. They are a group of constituents that have a normalizing and toning effect on the endocrine and nervous system- more specifically on the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis. They improve the immune system while regulating the hypothalamus, helping us to adapt to stress responses.
- Broad direct action on the all organ systems
- Work slowly, but deeply and are long lasting
- Their action is state specific (the more stressed you are, the stronger their effects)
- They are self limiting (it’s difficult to consume “too much”)
- Normalize and optimize natural functioning
Adaptogens have a few mechanisms in which they act:
- Have a nervous system influence by acting on neural transmitter receptor sites
- Contain constituents that act on hormone receptors (Triterpinoid saponins)
- Have a neurovasodialator effect, helping blood flow into the brain and close by glands
- Are antineurotoxic (prevent toxins from interfering)
Well known Adaptogenic herbs are:
- Tumeric (Curcuma longa)
- Chinese Milk-vetch (Astragalus membranaceus)
- Siberian Ginseng rhizome (Eleutherococcus senticosus)
- North American Ginseng root (Panax quinquefolius)
- Lacquered Polypore mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum)
- Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
- Rhodiola rhizome (Rhodiola rosea)
Using adaptogens will help you deal with stress of all kinds and slightly boost your immune system. They are easy to use and can be made from tea or used as a tincture. Using a simple tea is good because it is a more relaxing process; just make combination of herbs you may like with the addition of some that are adaptogenic. If you like to use tinctures, take a combination of 3-5 herbs: about 3-4 droppers worth total, 3 times per day.
Remember, the best way to deal with stress is to make changes to the ways that you respond to stressful situations and to make sure you get regular exercise and rest.