Partners' Message

Monday, 6 October 2014

Causes of Stress and the Natural Remedies for Dealing with It

Stress can be defined as a psychological strain of the mind. It is a state of the mind - mentally or emotionally tensed, or in a state of suspense. It is a vasoconstrictor; it is a position of difficulty that gives rise to worry or emotional tension. Stress has to do with the pressures of life and how you perceive, believe, react and cope with those pressures.

It is important to note here that prolonged and chronic stress has been traced to so many diseases or ailments such as: Heart disease, High blood pressure, Sleeplessness, Cancer, Stroke, Asthma, Ulcers, Chronic fatigue, Panic attacks, Increased heart rate, Depression, Anxiety, Spastic colon, Skin rashes, Tension headaches, etc.

All of the above mentioned ailments have been brought on by the strain that have to do with our everyday life activities, pressures of life and all that we have to as a matter of human existence, deal with. Invariably, it is the life-style changes that bother on our everyday existence and our reactions to them that cause the effect that later materialise or otherwise.

The following life style changes are the resultant effects of our negative stress levels: Death of a loved one, Marital strains such as Divorce, Separation, Sexual issues, Infertility, Disagreement, etc. Others are – Financial stress including Loss of job, Unemployment, Indebtedness, Homelessness. We cannot also forget family issues like – Child leaving home, In-law pressures, Frustrating living environment, Hostility, Polygamous home, Involvement with the law, Pregnancy, Death of a close friend or family member, Retirement, Personal injury or illness, Work deadlines, Traffic jam, etc.

To ease your stress, try out these following procedures:

Learn some short Relaxation routines: Engage in a short (about 3 mins) relaxation routine which can be a life saver even in tense situations. This habit will usually reduce the occurrence of high blood pressure and heart disease. Start by being in tune with the rhythm of your heart - by listening to your own breathing. Take one deep breath and hold it there! While you are holding it, try firming up one group of muscles like the face, legs, arms, buttocks. Let out your breath, relaxing the tensed muscle group. Feel your tensions all melting away; drop your raised shoulders and rotate them in circular motion. Repeat this session, and watch your stress level dropping. 

Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Tighten each muscle group in your body, hold for five seconds. Gradually release the muscles and relax them for ten to fifteen minutes.

Sit or lie down comfortably in a quiet place; scan your body to know areas of stress or tension. Begin tightening the muscle groups in the following areas beginning from the head:

Forehead & top of head – raise eyebrows; Jaw – clench teeth; Neck – press chin against your chest; Shoulders & trapezoid muscles – lift shoulders; Back – pull back shoulder blade;  Arms – flex biceps; Abdomen – tighten abdomen; Buttocks – squeeze and tighten buttocks;          Thighs – flex thighs; Calves – flex and point toes up or down.  
                                                                                                                                                           Tense each group muscles as you focus on the body part. Repeat this twice and you will be teaching your body to relax as you ease off the tension.      

Melt Away Stress: Soak yourself in a hot bath nourished with 5-10 drops of essential oils. Remember not to mix your essential oils with other oils and soaps. Be sure to soak the bath water for about twenty-five minutes to allow the aromatic benefits to fully surface before starting. Get your essential oils (Lavender, Geranium, Rosemary, Epson Salt -1-2 cups, or Baking Soda – a handful) from your health food shops.

Imbibe Regular Exercise: It is a well known fact that physically active people usually exhibit less anxiety and little or no signs of depression at all. This is because according to a scientific theory, aerobic activities for example, produce high levels of norepinephrine, a chemical - a catecholamine precursor of epinephrine, which is secreted by the adrenal medulla and also released at synapses. Norepinephrine helps the brain deal with stress more efficiently.

Keep Walking: Embark on walking – brisk walking. You need to do brisk or quick walking exercise. It is also a form of aerobics – a cardiopulmonary exercise that increases the need for oxygen. It is important your walk is brisk so that the necessary tension will be exerted on the system and so you ought to sweat somewhat. But also be sure not to rush your brisk walking pattern or routine; always start with a brief walk and steadily graduate to higher time schedule at each time. 

You could start from say – 30 minutes to 60 minutes within weeks of your routine. Very importantly too, I recommend you choose a cool part of the day like early mornings and evenings, in an undisturbed part of your locality as well. The peace and quiet, as well as purity of air which means fresh abundant oxygen is very critical to your achieving great results, and doing away with all that stress once and for all.

By Morgan Nwanguma

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