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Stress is complicated. At its most basic it involves feeling overwhelmed and under pressure. This evokes a sense of “not coping” and may promote feelings of inadequacy and failure. With continuing unresolved stress, this downward spiral can continue into anxiety and depression. A significant proportion of people in research trials have identified the number one stressor as “a lack of control over events that are affecting them”. Poverty, long term unemployment, under-stimulating low paid work and no significant opportunity for real change are examples where people can feel a lack of control. Many therapies, therefore, help people to gain a sense of control by exploring their beliefs and examining their thoughts about stressful events, and can encourage a change of behaviour so that coping mechanisms are strengthened. Cognitive behavioural therapy is one such therapy.

Of deep concern is the effect of unmanaged stress on long term health. For example, studies indicate that the stress of under-achievement is a significant health risk. Unmanaged stress creates hopelessness and a victim mentality develops. This increases the likelihood that a person will participate in unhealthy activities and undesirable behaviour. Crime, drug abuse and alcohol-fuelled events may grab the headlines but smoking, overeating or undereating can also have serious consequences, leading to premature ageing and increasing the likelihood of early death. This can affect all social groups and ages. Long term military incursions have resulted in a high occurrence of depression in combat personnel and an accompanied high suicide rate. Tragedies such as the bombing of the World Trade Centre have now added to the existing research and there is a body of evidence that accepts post-traumatic stress disorder as a legitimate and terrible condition involving unacceptable levels of stress. Such large events as well as social degeneration are issues that society as a whole will need to examine and change. But there are many changes that are within our individual power to affect and this is positive. Also positive is that we all need a certain amount of stress and can thrive on it: stress will challenge us to improve in all areas of life  professional, physical and emotional. Stress is perceived individually and experienced individually but some common denominators of negative or excess stress can be identified and improved upon.

The short term effects of excess stress initially affect the central nervous system (headaches and insomnia are examples). The hormonal system may be involved, showing up in women as menstrual irregularities or problems with sexual function for both sexes. The musculoskeletal system is frequently affected, with muscle tension and back pain. Longer term effects will produce changes in the cardiovascular and digestive system and may affect fertility. The most important thing is to get the help you need and not attempt to struggle on alone and unaided. Whether the need is emotional, psychological, physical or spiritual, there are well thought out and proven strategies that can help.

Food & herbs for the home

  • Herbal teas do not over-stimulate already depleted reserves of nervous energy in the way that caffeine drinks do. Instead they provide minerals that actually enable cells to function. Lavender Flower Herbal Tea is soothing and supportive while Evening Peace Herbal Tea can help to create the right environment for sleep.
  • Support for the nervous system can be provided with herbal tinctures and special formulations.
  • Comfort eating and distraction eating can quickly become a habit that is hard to break and may lead to overweight and obesity. Feed your cells optimum nutrition, especially foods rich in plant forms of calcium, magnesium and B vitamins, all of which are vital for nerve support. We love Superfood Plus for its high levels and high absorption of these and all essential nutrients.
  • Limit your intake of alcohol to recommended levels and do not use this social drug as a regular stress-reliever.
  • Limit or avoid caffeine which gives too strong a push against sensitive adrenal glands. These glands produce hormones designed to help our body cope with short term stress. Continual stress places pressure on the entire hormonal system. EnergiRevive Powder can provide gentle effective support over time – ask us for a free sample.
  • If your digestion is affected try IntestAble Capsules (ask us for a sample), and if you are experiencing diarrhoea or loose stools try Slippery Elm Plus Powder for its soothing and anti-inflammatory qualities.
  • If cardiovascular health and blood pressure are vulnerable areas then support can be provided with PumpBeet Capsules, of which we can also send you a sample.

Natural healing

  • Pamper yourself. This may not be easy if you feel that you are crisis-managing each day, but you must “fill your own cup” with some gentleness and self-care. Much emotional and physical benefit can be given for very little money with essential oils. Our stress-busting range includes Lavender Essential Oil and Petitgrain Essential Oil. Or choose a purpose-mixed massage oil such as Relaxing Massage Oil and work this gently into tightened muscles.
  • Exercise is a well-recognised stress buster.
  • So is laughter.
  • Learn something new that relaxes you, such as the craft or hobby that you always wanted to learn. Success in one area that you enjoy will draw other success to you.
  • Negativity acts like a battery drainer – for you and for everyone else. Make the conscious decision to focus on what is working and avoid those who take your energy with complaints and grumbles. Stop watching programmes on TV that upset you and switch off the news.

Additional help is available by phoning the free product advice line at Herbs Hands Healing between the hours of 9.00am to 1.00pm. Tel: 01379 608201.

If you would like to learn more about herbs and receive updates about our products and services please take the time to subscribe to our newsletters.

Learn more about Dr. Richard Schulze’s Superfood Plus and why we believe this is such a wonderful food by following this link on our website, where extensive information is available. Also please visit our Superfood Plus facebook page for articles and current news.

To learn more about natural healing for this and other ailments, visit Dr Schulze's blog.

If you would like to see videos of Jill Davies showing you plants growing in their natural settings and discussing their medicinal attributes then visit us on facebook. You can also explore additional herbs and their traditional uses by linking to Herbs Info & Photo Gallery and Herb Profiles. Useful additional information can also be found at the Herbs Hands Healing information pages on Detox & Cleansing and Natural Healing.