I’m sure you use the word stress often throughout your day.
We all feel a little stressed due to the multiple commitments we have, pending deadlines, and lack of time to dedicate to ourselves.
The common denominator of all forms of stress is a feeling of malaise, fatigue, irritability that makes us more fragile with illness and less tolerant of others and of daily problems.
Actually stress is an adaptive response that has allowed our species to survive throughout its evolution.
Hans Seyle, the first theorist of stress, conceived it as an adaptive response that the body puts into force to overcome all the situations that its alarm systems deem dangerous.
The stress reaction is indeed characterized by the secretion of hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline which make the muscles stronger and the person more reactive. In this sense, stress has a value that is not only positive but also necessary for the survival of the species.
Primitive men had to face dangers that were of a short duration. While they were hunting, for example, they might encounter an animal and had to decide whether to run away or face it (have you ever heard of the “fight or flight” response?), but once they made up their mind and acted accordingly, they had plenty of time to recover.
In the contemporary age, we too have this type of reaction when facing what, on a conscious or unconscious level, we perceive as dangerous (stressor). But today’s stressors are definitely different from those our ancestors faced. Modern stressors are psychosocial and no longer physical. It’s about the work environment, social relationships, financial worries, the huge amount of commitments we have and the limited time to complete them. Above all, these stressors are not momentary but can persist for a long time and consequently we need more time to recover.
Look at these signs that may indicate that stress is becoming a threat to your health:
- Discomfort with sounds and lights
- Muscle pains, contractures and cramps
- Sleeping Disorders
- Cardiac arrhythmia
- Digestive difficulties
- General fatigue
What can you do concretely to combat stress, when the conditions in which you find yourself do not allow you to avoid it?
Physical activity, especially aerobic, such as brisk walking, swimming and cycling, is undoubtedly one of the best remedies for stress.
Breathing control, like getting used to using the diaphragm and slowing the respiratory rate, is another useful tool against stress.
Obviously, a good massage that helps you increase the level of oxytocin, a hormone capable of counteracting cortisol, is certainly effective.
As regards food supplement, magnesium is the anti-stress mineral for excellence, also because we are chronically deficient. Remember that a supplement is such because it must be complementary to a healthy diet. Therefore, remember to eat well!