!!! STRESS !!! How can I manage?
So many people are coming in to my shop during these 'unprecedented times' seeking advice and support on how to manage their stress and anxiety. I thought to write a little about understanding stress and stress management in these a'changing times.
“We are designed to suffer when we are pursuing the unattainable or avoiding the unavoidable. This suffering is a feedback mechanism to wake us up to set real objectives and to get grounded in reality and to get clear about our mission" JDM
Managing your body’s stress response and bringing your overall vitality closer to its optimal levels are essential for navigating this unpredictable time, and making you better equipped to respond should you fall ill. However, managing your perceptions of the current situation is VITAL in managing your body’s response.
We know that stress is the inability to adapt to a changing environment. We have the greatest inability to adapt when we are rigid with infatuation about how it ‘should’ be or how it used to be, and resentment about how it is. The more we resent something, the more we fear the gain of it, and the more we infatuate with something, the more we fear its loss. Whenever we are in fear, we operate from our amygdala, which skews things and exaggerates the fantasies and nightmares. We are not as rational, and find it harder to see visions or possibilities, and, not being in our prefrontal cortex, struggle to come up with strategic plans to take the current reality and use it to our greatest advantage.
If you hold on to rigid views, you add to your current distress. This has nothing to do with Covid, but the attachment to a fantasy and a detachment from the current reality. This can prevent creative solutions from being developed. And the solution is always there as there is never a crisis without a blessing.
The wisest thing to do is to take the current reality and ask ‘what are the facts today’ (objectively) and ask ‘how can I use these to my greatest advantage to fulfil my mission?’ Don’t lose sight of your mission as it compounds the problem. Objectively figure out what are the needs of today, and meet them. See how the situation is on the way and not in the way of you fulfilling your mission. This leads to gratitude, a much more healthful state than resentment and fear.
Now, to our body’s response. When our bodies are running constantly in an ‘action and alarm’ state from the amygdala, we end up with exhausted nervous systems and depleted reserves of energy and nutrients.
Alongside healthy habits such as adequate rest, exercise, hydration and reduced caffeine, herbal medicines are very helpful. There are a number of herbal actions useful to restore and regenerate, and ultimately regain your poised, vital self. The following herbs are all available from our Happy Herb Shop in West End, Brisbane.
1. Relax Tension/Constraint The tension caused by long-term stress is often both physical and mental, manifesting physically as tight muscles, spasms, tension headaches and intestinal tension resulting in bloating, pain and gas and emotionally as restlessness, irritation, excitement or hysteria. Herbs that relax tension include valerian, skullcap and passionflower.
2. Calm the Heart Anxiety and emotional distress can be accompanied by physical heart symptoms such as accelerated heart rate, heart palpitations or chest pain. Herbs that calm the heart are lemon balm, chamomile, or lavender.
3. Restore Depleted Reserves Long-term nervous system tension eventually causes depletion of the neurons and neurotransmitters required for healthy functioning. A number of herbs can help restore the tissues of the nervous system. These include valerian, skullcap and ashwagandha, and of course, our wonderful array of medicinal mushrooms.
Wishing everyone an inspiring and fulfilled day