Stress

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Stress

Definition

Stress is the body's way of responding to demand or pressure1.

Description

In many cases stress is a healthy reaction. It helps us cope with life’s challenges by motivating us to get things done. However, when stress is intense and prolonged, it can affect our physical and mental health.Some people find certain situations such as public speaking or flying to be stressful, while others do not. It is important to recognise when you are stressed and how to manage it. While stress is not a mental health condition, if it is not managed properly, stress can be a trigger for anxiety and depression2.

Sign and Symptoms 

Stress can affect both your mood and behaviour. Signs that you may be stressed include:

  • lack of motivation
  • sleeplessness or over sleeping
  • moodiness
  • headaches
  • lack of concentration
  • feeling overwhelmed or anxious
  • reliance on alcohol or other substances to cope
  • increased eating, drinking or nervous habits
  • not coping with demands or responsibilities

Treatment Options

While feeling stressed is a normal response to pressure in your life, severe and ongoing stress may be a risk factor for anxiety and depression. See your GP for advice if you have found it hard to relax, felt stressed or overwhelmed, and/or felt panicky or anxious for the past two weeks3

It is very important to learn to recognise your own individual stressors and triggers and be aware of when you are starting to feel stressed4. The following strategies are designed to help you manage stress:

Daily routines. Having a consistent daily routine provides a sense of certainty and can help you feel more in control. It can be as simple as going for a walk every morning and going to bed around the same time each night.

Exercise. Feel-good hormones like endorphins are released when you exercise.

Organise. Stress can build when we become overwhelmed with tasks. Write out everything you need to get done in order of priority and reward yourself when each job is done.

Time out. Make time for enjoyable activities, such as listening to music, reading, gardening, or spending time with family and friends.

Breathe. When you start to feel stressed, take a few long, deep breaths to slow your heart rate and calm your mind. Breathe in slowly for a few counts and breathe out for a few counts.

Meditate. Scientifically proven to help decrease and manage stress, meditation is helpful during times of stress and as a prevention tool in times when you are feeling well5.

Vitamins/Minerals/Herbs

The following nutritional supplements may be helpful:

  • B Complex Vitamins play an important role in keeping your nervous system healthy. B group vitamins may help to boost energy and mood. Factors such as increasing age, pregnancy and a poor diet may result in low levels of B vitamins.
  • Vitamin C has been shown in clinical trials to help in the management of stress and anxiety6.
  • Passionflower herb is believed to be a central nervous system sedative and may relieve restlessness, nervousness, anxiety and insomnia. If taking anti-depressants, consult your Health Professional before taking passionflower.
  • Chamomile herb has traditionally been used as a nervine herb, calming the nervous system and relieving tension. Chamomile can be taken as a tea or in supplement form.

Aromatherapy

The listed essential oils are suggested to promote relaxation. The most specific oils are shown in capitals. Basil, BERGAMOT, BLUE CHAMOMILE, CEDARWOOD, CHAMOMILE, CLARY SAGE, FRANKINCENSE, Geranium, LAVENDER, MELISSA, NEROLI, Orange, Rose, Rosewood and Ylang Ylang.

Naturopath

Ask your Naturopath for advice. - Follow the Diet Hints. - Have regular exercise. - Talk over your worries with someone you can trust. Seek expert advice if necessary. - Consider the nutritional supplements and essential oils mentioned in this topic.

Pharmacist’s Advice

Ask your Pharmacist for advice.
1) If you have been feeling stressed or overwhelmed, and/or felt panicky or anxious for the past two weeks, see your GP for advice.
2) Your Pharmacist can advise you about lifestyle changes that will help you to manage symptoms of stress.
3) Consider the nutritional supplements mentioned in this topic.
4) Your Pharmacy stocks a range of essential oils that may help to promote relaxation.

Source 

1. Overcoming stress. Lifeline. Australia. Cited Aug 2019. Available from: https://www.lifeline.org.au/get-help/topics/stress

2. What is stress and how can you manage it. Explained. Black Dog Institute. Last updated Oct 2018. Available from URL: https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/news/news-detail/2018/11/02/what-is...

3. Reducing stress. Beyond Blue. Cited Aug 2019. Available from URL: https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/staying-well/reducing-stress

4. #REF#What is stress and how can you manage it. Explained. Black Dog Institute. Last updated Oct 2018. Available from URL: https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/news/news-detail/2018/11/02/what-is-stress-and-how-can-you-manage-it-explained#ENDREF#

5. 5 ways to reduce stress right now. QLD Government. 22 July 2019. Available from URL: https://www.health.qld.gov.au/news-alerts/news/how-to-reduce-stress-right-now#ENDREF#

6. de Oliveira IJ. Effects of Oral Vitamin C Supplementation on Anxiety in Students: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Pak J Biol Sci. 2015 Jan;18(1):11-8.

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