Stress is a normal; but prolonged, long-term stress has negative effects on our mental and physical health. Some of the predictable effects of long-term stress include headaches and sleep disorders. Other effects of long-term stress can include an increased propensity for depression, suppression of the immune system, and even fertility problems.
There are multiple factors that contribute to stress. Stress over finances is one of the leading causes of stress among Americans, as well as job stress due to the length of time spent working and the workload itself. Another common cause is relationship problems. All of these should be handled in their own accord.
Individuals also vary greatly in their stress triggers. Highly extroverted people tend to experience less stress in daily life. Individuals who are perfectionists or "type-A" often tend to experience stress over small things, and large issues as well.
Strategies for Mitigating Stress
Mindfulness practice through meditation and breath exercises can be extremely useful in mitigating the negative thoughts and feelings of stress that come with life?s challenges. Engaging these practices for a few short minutes each day, or briefly at stressful/exhaust moments throughout your day, can bring relief from stress and a renewed state of positive emotion to keep you going. There are many free resources online that discuss these practices, and how to incorporate them into your daily life.
Physical exercise is great for releasing stress because it produces endorphins. Both mild and intense forms of exercise can benefit your mood and mental state. Mild forms of exercise include walking and jogging. More intense forms of exercise include running for time, gym workouts, and swimming. You can adjust the level of intensity to what you are capable of, and what is healthy for your body. Exercising 2-3 days a week can be of great benefit.
Having a pet can be helpful in lessening stress and increasing your contentment while at home. One study at the Human-Animal Bond and Research Institute found that 75% of pet owners reported that having a pet increased the mental well-being of a friend or family member. The loving companionship of a pet can bring some peace and contentment in the face of stress.
Supplements to Help Mitigate Stress
Valerin is derived from valerian root (a plant native to Europe). There is encouraging evidence to suggest its use in treating the symptoms of stress. It has been used to help alleviate nervousness and anxiety, both of which are accentuated by general stress in some individuals. It is most well-known for its ability to encourage good-quality sleep because of its mild sedative and calming effect.
L-theanine is an amino acid (which contributes to protein synthesis) derived from green tea. It has been shown to produce an improvement in sleep, depression, and anxiety (three common symptoms of chronic stress), in individuals who took 200mg of L-theanine daily for four weeks. Other studies have echoed L-theanine?s ability to help individuals cope with stressful conditions.
Ashwagandha is a plant with a history of use in the Ayurvedic medicinal tradition. This plant, commonly taken in supplement form, can help to combat stress, and has other benefits as well. Various studies have shown ashwagandha to be helpful in reducing stress in individuals. Wonder Labs offers Ashwagandha in our MalicMax blend supplement.
Melatonin can be useful in alleviating stress. Its ability to encourage sound sleep (which it is commonly known for) can help relieve stress. Sleep is important for the mind to recover each night, and for you to be physically and mentally prepared for the next day. Additionally, scientific evidence suggests that it can also be helpful in alleviating stress in individuals who are preparing for medical surgeries. Wonder Labs offers both adult melatonin and children's melatonin.
Magnesium is a necessary mineral for bodily functioning. Among its other roles, it may be helpful in reducing general anxiety. Anxiety is a symptom that is often (but not always) coupled with stress. The evidence for this specific benefit is not as strong as it is for its other benefits, but it is still worth the try for mitigating anxiety due to stress.