Stress and Anxiety
Stress, as defined in the dictionary, is mental and physical tension
or strain. When stress occurs in quantities that the system cannot
handle, it produces pathological changes. This biological concept
of stress was developed by the late Dr. Hans Selye, who intended originally
for stress to indicate the cause rather than the effect. But through
a linguistic error, he gave the term stress to the effect and then
later had to use the word stressor for the cause. Therefore, it seems
that outside influences are not the cause of the inward stress, rather
the stress is the result of how we, as individuals, handle the influences
from outside. Some individuals handle stress with ease, others panic
or have an anxiety attack more readily. In other words, stress is
a descriptive term for a reaction of how an individual handles pressure
and tension, whether from internal or external sources. Constructive
handling of pressure and tense situations will result in lesser symptoms
of stress and anxiety. Poorly handled or denied reactions will result
in greater symptoms of stress and anxiety. Hysteria is extreme reaction
to inability to handle situations.
Rather than causes here, we will be speaking of the outside influences
which may or may not trigger a reaction of anxiety within an individual.
Each individual has a tolerance level for stress related incidents
(possibly differing widely from even siblings). Some of these outside
influences are: a high-pressure job, relationships, financial problems,
loneliness, crowds, and traffic jams. Everyone feels stressed at one
time or another. Long-term stress often occurs when the situation
is not relieved; a family member who is physically or mentally ill,
a financial status that is far below the family needs, homelessness.
Some people even create their own stress; there may be nothing wrong,
but they find something to worry about. Not everyone handles stress
constructively. The body can handle some stress, mental or physical,
but stress must be coped with and most people have the ability to
do so. If the stress is short-term, chances are good that it will
be dealt with. It is long-term stress that causes the body to break
Many people attribute their stress-related symptoms to "nerves" and,
in fact, stress first affects the parts of the body related to the
nervous system, especially through the digestive and intestinal systems.
First symptoms of these digestive orders may be persistent indigestion
Irritability, high blood pressure,
indigestion, weakening of the immune
system, elevation of cholesterol levels,
migraine headaches, neckaches, diarrhea,
dizziness, and loss of appetite are
some of the disorders precipitated by stress. If the stress is not
handled properly, then more serious illnesses may result. The disorders
often are the result of nutrient deficiencies due to the anxiety reaction
of loss of appetite.
Relaxation. But this is often difficult for the person suffering
from anxiety. It is necessary to alleviate the stress. A proper diet.
The B-complex vitamins are very important for proper
functioning of the nervous system. Vitamin B-complex
injections are helpful, reducing the damage to the immune system.
They also improve brain function and reduce anxiety. Avoid caffeine,
alcohol, sugar, white flour products, preserved meats, heavy spices
and seasonings. Do not eat junk foods! A good diet gives the strength
to keep the nervous system and the immune system in great shape, and
help to cope with outside influences.
Vitamin B complex, 100 mg. daily. Magnesium, 1,000
mg. per day. L-Tyrosine (amino acid), 500
mg. in morning, 500 mg. at bedtime, helps reduce
stress to the body. Effective, safe sleeping aid. Calcium, 2,000
mg. per day. Vitamin C with bioflavonoids, 3,000-10,000
mg. per day, is essential to adrenal gland function (stress
depletes the adrenal gland hormones). Brewer's Yeast, taken as directed
on the label. Kelp, 5 tablets per day, is a balanced
vitamin/mineral preparation. Lecithin, 2 capsules with
meals, is for cellular protection and brain function (coats the nerve
fibers). L-Lysine plus vitamin C and zinc
gluconate, taken as directed on the label, will help the cold sores,
which are often the first sign of stress (reduces stress so it can
be better handled). Multivitamin and mineral complex containing vitamin
A, 25,000 IU daily in divided doses. Potassium,
99 mg daily, is needed for adrenal gland function. Proteolytic
enzymes, between meals, destroys free radicals released by stress.
Vitamin E, 400 IU daily, helps immune system.
Zinc, 50 mg. daily, helps immune system.
- Betony, wood
- Centaury, European, aerial parts
- Ginseng, American
- Ginseng, Siberian
- Golden seal
- Hops, cones
- Lady's slipper
- Lavender, flowers
- Lemon balm
- Logan berries
- Lotus plumule
- Orange, flowers
- Pasque flower
- Pau d'arco
- Peppermint, leaves
- Poppy, California
- Rose hips
- St. John's wort
- Valerian root
Rule out allergies or heavy metal intoxication. A quality diet, exercise,
and proper rest are very important.
Dealing with stress may require changes in the way an individual
reacts to pressure, tension, and situations beyond your control. The
following is a list of possible suggestions in dealing with difficult
- Physical activity can clear your mind and keep stress under control.
Run, walk, play sports or keep a regular exercise program. Exercising
once a month will not do much to relieve stress.
- Some people find meditation helps them relax and handle stress.
- Try to rest and get enough sleep. This may be difficult, stress
may keep you up at night, although, some people welcome sleep as
an escape. The less sleep you get, the more stressful you will feel,
and the higher your chance of becoming ill because your immune system
- Deep breathing can shake of stress affects and can be done anywhere.
- Take a day off, that's what weekends are for. Take a drive, go
to the beach, work in the yard, read a book. Try to control your
thoughts during this time so you don't think of the problems causing
- Hobbies are great for relieving stress. Take the time to enjoy
what you like doing. Don't feel guilty for spending time and money
doing something for yourself. Your health is worth it.
- Try not to take life so seriously! Learn to laugh.
- If you cannot handle the stress, you may need professional help.
There is nothing wrong with seeking help with your problems. Often,
it is enlightening to talk with someone who can remain totally objective.
- Avoid caffeine, smoking, alcohol, and drugs. While drugs and alcohol
may offer temporary relief from stress, the stressor is still there
the next day, and your health suffers from their use. Remember,
there is no escape from stress. You must and can learn to handle