Home Medications and Treatments for Stress
A little stress is normal in our day to day life. Moderate amounts of stress can help to make an individual more alert, focused and energetic. Stress involves the body's normal response to changes or disturbances in the environment. However, long-term or excessive stress can increase the risk of some diseases the most common are heart disease, diabetes, headache, and peptic ulcer.
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Stress usually first affects the inner emotions. Initial symptoms may include the following feelings:
These emotional states can then begin to affect a person's outward appearance:
Unusually anxious or nervous
As the stress level increases, or if it lasts over a longer period of time, a person may begin to feel more severe emotional or physical effects:
Sometimes even think of hurting yourself or others
Nausea and vomiting
Chest pain or pressure
Dizziness or flushing
Tremulousness or restlessness
Hyperventilation or choking sensation
In most cases, these symptoms are very minor and don’t last very long.
The following are risk factors for uncontrollable stress:
Social and financial problems
Lack of social support
Too much stress can weaken the immune system thereby paving way for a variety of other diseases, such as depression and heart disease.
The leaves of holy basil have been found beneficial in the treatment of stress. They are regarded as an antistress agent. Recent studies have shown that the leaves protect against stress significantly. It has been suggested that even healthy persons should chew twelve leaves of basil twice a day, morning and evening, for preventing stress.
The herb sage is considered valuable in stress. A tea prepared from the leaves of this plant should be given in the treatment of this condition. This tea is prepared by pouring a cup of boiling water over one teaspoon of dried sage leaves. The water should be covered and infused for several minutes. It should then be strained and sweetened with honey, if desired. In the case of fresh leaves, a tablespoon of coarsely chopped sage leaves should be used and tea prepared in the same way.
Certain nutrients have proved beneficial in relieving stress. These are vitamins A and B; and minerals such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium, which reduce the feeling of irritability and anxiety. Vitamin A is found in green and yellow vegetables. Some of the valuable sources of vitamin B are cashew nuts, green leafy vegetables, yeast, sprouts, and bananas. An element of vitamin B complex, pantothenic acid, is especially important in preventing stress. It has a deep effect on the adrenal glands and the immune system; an adequate amount of this vitamin, along with vitamin A, can help prevent many of the changes caused by stress.
Potassium deficiencies are associated with breathlessness, fatigue, insomnia, and low blood sugar. Potassium is essential for healthy heart muscles. Nuts and whole grains are good sources of this mineral. Calcium is a natural sedative. Deficiencies can cause fatigue, nervousness, and tension. Dairy products, eggs, almonds, and soya beans are rich sources of this mineral. Magnesium is known as nature's tranquilizer and is associated with the prevention of heart attacks. It is found in many fruits, vegetables, seeds, dates, and prunes.
There are many foods, which help in meeting the demands of stress, and should be taken regularly by the patients. These include yoghurt, blackstrap molasses, seeds, and sprouts. Yoghurt is rich in vitamins A, D, and the B complex group. It relieves migraine, insomnia, and cramps associated with menstruation. Blackstrap molasses, a by-product of the sugar-refining process, is rich in iron and B vitamins. It guards against anaemia and is good for heart disease. Seeds such as alfalfa, sunflower, pumpkins, and sprouts are rich in calcium and quite effective as deterrents of listlessness and anxiety.
1. Maintaining an overall healthy diet. Use fresh foods as close to the natural state as possible, avoiding prepackaged and processed foods. Eat daily servings of leafy green vegetables, whole grains (such as brown rice and rolled oats), fresh fruit, and proteins with a mini-mum of animal fat. Drink at least 8 cups of fluids daily. For more information, refer to the article on healthy diet.
2. Nutritional yeast – 3 to 6 heaping tablespoons per day over food or blended with milk or juice.
3. Increase your intake of potassium-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, and molasses. Eat at least 3 to 5 servings of these foods per day.
4. Use salt in moderation and avoid over salting your food.
5. As much as possible, avoid sugar foods such as candy, cake, cookies, and soda pop and refined carbohydrates such as white rice and white flour products. Concentrated sugar foods can cause tiredness, anxiety, and changes in mood.
6. Decrease or eliminate consumption of caffeine, found mostly in coffee, black tea, chocolate, and some over-the-counter medications. Caffeine use can make stress worse. It can bring on nervousness, irritability, and depression, as well as overstress the adrenal glands, which are so essential in dealing with stress.
Regular physical exercise plays an important role in the fight against stress. It not only keeps the body physically and mentally fit, but also provides recreation and mental relaxation. Recreation and rest are also important. The patient should set a definite time for recreational activities, and should take a holiday at regular intervals. Above all, he should simplify his style of living to eliminate unnecessary stress.
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