Bouncing back from stress and anxiety
A lot of people face stress and anxiety in their daily lives. And although they are closely related they're not the same thing. When we experience stress, we usually know what we are stressed about, and the symptoms disappear after the challenging situation is over. Anxiety however, isn’t always as easy to figure out. Anxiety is a reaction to the stress, such as worry or nervousness, and can persist after the stressor is gone.
Stress and anxiety can cause various mental and physical symptoms such as insomnia, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, and digestive troubles. If they become chronic, these symptoms can lead to weight gain, high blood pressure, and personality changes. Plus, they can age you faster too!
Learning how to manage stress and anxiety is something that everyone could benefit from. Using a positive coping strategy can help to ensure that your physical, mental and emotional needs are met, and your quality of life doesn’t suffer.
Here are some healthy ways to get relief:
- Regular exercise
- Talking to a friend
- Scheduling relaxation and self-care into your routine
- Eating a healthy diet
- Adopting a good sleep routine
The following natural ingredients in our Internal Cosmetics can also support your body and mind:
The most abundant amino acid in collagen—glycine—helps with better sleep and stress relief. This is because it is an inhibitory neurotransmitter which calms the nervous system, helping us unwind and relax. A study in 2007 found that people who slept badly fell asleep faster, had less drowsiness during the day and improved memory when given glycine before bed.
And in this study, people said that they felt more energetic in the morning after taking glycine.
When your body is in high-alert, it releases cortisol (the stress hormone) which can shut down digestion and the immune system. Vitamin C not only reduces cortisol in the bloodstream but is also known to be able to reduce blood pressure.
A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial studied how vitamin C supplementation affects anxiety in school students. The trial showed that vitamin C lowered the students anxiety levels.
In another clinical trial, 120 male and female participants aged between 20-40 years were given two tasks: a five-minute microphoned and video‑recorded speech, and another five minutes of mental arithmetic, also performed out loud. 60 of the participants took two 500 mg sustained-release vitamin C capsules four times a day for 14 days, while the remaining 60 took a placebo. The researchers found that blood pressure just before the stress, and up to 40 minutes after, was significantly lower in the vitamin C group. They also reported significantly less stress and anxiety after the stressful situation.
Supplementing with magnesium has been shown to have a stabilizing effect on mood. This is because it increases levels of the neurotransmitter GABA, which encourages relaxation and sleep. Research has also indicated that low levels of magnesium in the body can negatively affect gut health (the gut is where our ‘feel good’ brain chemical serotonin is made) and is linked to anxiety symptoms.
This essential mineral is vital to over 200 enzymatic reactions within the body, including the formation of the ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters, serotonin and dopamine. Zinc deficiency is common in people with anxiety, and supplementation has been found to reduce anxiety levels in people with low levels.
It’s worth noting that magnesium and zinc are taken together, they work better at relieving post-partum anxiety than when they are taken alone.
Blackseed has been used as a herbal medicine for thousands of years, and there is some evidence that it can reduce anxiety, as its most bioactive compound—thymoquinone—has been been shown to increase GABA.
A study of 48 male volunteers who took 1g of blackseed everyday, found that it decreased their anxiety and improved their moods and cognition after 4 weeks.
Maca is an adaptogen, which means that it is a functional food that can reduce the effects of physical and mental stress, prevent increases in cortisol and counteract fatigue.
A cruciferous vegetable, Maca contains various powerful antioxidants known as flavonoids, which are thought to improve mood and reduce anxiety. This study of 14 postmenopausal women found that maca may reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.
We all experience stress and anxiety at times, and how we handle it can make all the difference to our health and happiness. Don't be afraid to ask your GP for help, especially if you experience symptoms for a long time and they are making you feel grumpy and unwell.