Stress and Anxiety
What is Stress and Anxiety?
To experience stress and anxiety is a common struggle for most individuals. Stress is the feeling of strain and pressure, or emotional or physical tension that can result in feelings of frustration, anger, and nervousness. Small amounts of stress may be desired, beneficial, and healthy, and positive stress is shown to help improve performance, motivation, and reaction to environment. Anxiety is stress that continues after a stressor (stress-causing factor) is gone, and generally refers to feelings of fear, unease, and worry. Excessive amounts of stress, conclusively, lead to negative health consequences such as worsening of conditions of stiffness in muscles, sleep disorders, depression, memory problems, concentration and focus problems, headaches, digestive disorders, chronic fatigue, body pain, anger, and irritability. 70-80% of all illness are stress and anxiety related.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, excessive emotional stress affects flow of Qi and Blood, causing stagnation. Through Chinese Medical therapies natural blood flow and circulation is increased, mental and emotional toxins are released from the body, stress hormone cortisol is decreased, blood pressure is lowered, and overall well-being increased.
Acupuncture effectively treats stress and anxiety gently and naturally by improving circulation within the body. By increasing the release of ACTH, beta-endorphins, serotonin, and noradrenaline acupuncture treatments can help increase blood flow, regulate hormones and enzymes, and relax and promote natural healing of the body. Acupuncture can bring relief to mood swings, sleeping and eating problems, strengthen the immune system, and help increase overall energy and motivation. Acupuncture helps to alleviate pain caused by stress tightening muscles, and opens meridian channels to relax the muscles.
Chinese Herbal Medicine
In conjunction with acupuncture or as treatment on its own, Chinese herbal remedies are useful in treating emotional and mental disorders gently and naturally. Chinese Herbal Medicine is highly successful in regulating the endocrine system and restoring balance in the body. Herbs work on balancing the body to reduce stress and restore homeostasis.
Nutrition and Diet
It is important to note that unhealthy diet and weight can lead to a higher risk for depression and anxiety, so it is critical to ensure optimum nutritional health in order to look out for your own mental health.
The neurotransmitter serotonin is critical in regulating mood, and when serotonin levels are low mood may be negatively impacted. Production of serotonin is closely associated with the availability of the amino acid tryptophan and vitamin B6. In order for tryptophan to be converted into a precursor for serotonin, it is critical to ensure adequate levels of niacin and iron are available in the body.
Further, the hormone cortisol, produced in response to stress, converts tryptophan into a chemical that cannot be converted into serotonin. Drinking coffee and alcohol, smoking cigarettes, and stress can lead to increased production of cortisol, and therefore limited availability of the serotonin precursor.
Treatment of depression from a nutrition standpoint involves preventing deficiencies in essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.
The optimum diet should be well-balanced and include foods like fatty fish (like salmon), green leafy vegetables, eggs, beans and lentils, nuts, and citrus juice. Ensuring enough iron by eating spinach, red meat, liver, raisons, broccoli, and egg yolks is important.
Lifestyle and Mind-Body Medicine
Mind-Body therapies may be useful in finding relief and coming to better understand underlying the thoughts and emotions around the individual psychological life experience. Mindfulness exercises, creative arts exercise, yoga, and guided imagery can all be extremely beneficial in depression treatment.
In addition to acupuncture and nutrition, learning relaxation techniques are greatly beneficial to general health and wellbeing. Chronic, or acute, lifestyle stress can have a wide variety of negative effects on the body, including reproductive organ blood flow and hormone regulation. Physical and psychological stress can make existing symptoms worse and delay overall internal healing.
Techniques that elicit the relaxation response (a state of deep relaxation in which the heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate decrease, muscle tension relaxes, stress hormone levels fall, and the mind becomes tranquil), and relaxation techniques like meditation and yoga may aid greatly in bringing balance to mental and emotional states. Practicing focused deep-breathing, meditation, yoga, tai-chi and other activities are among those that can increase your chances of a healthy life and pregnancy. Listening to music, focused breathing, or being outside in nature are also effective methods of managing stress.