Navigating Stress: Your Guide to Prioritizing Mental and Physical Well-being

man on mountain

If you're like the majority of people today, you've likely faced stress in the past year.1 Stress is a common part of life, and while a little stress is normal, chronic stress can have a significant impact on your mental and physical health.2,3  In this article, we'll explore the effects of stress on your body and provide relatable yet professional advice on how to regain control over your life.

Understanding Stress and Its Impact:

Many of us tend to think of stress as a purely physical reaction - sweaty palms, racing heart, or a looming headache. This bodily response is triggered by a combination of cortisol (the "stress hormone") and adrenaline, a cocktail designed to fuel anxiety.

Thousands of years ago, our ancestors used these reactions to escape dangerous situations. However, in today's world, stress often seems to cause more harm than good.2

 The Role of Hormonal Imbalances:

 After your body activates a stress response, cortisol levels typically decrease, and your hormones rebalance.4  Chronic stress, on the other hand, disrupts this balance, leaving cortisol levels elevated for longer periods than they should be. This hormonal disruption can lead to a range of health issues, including1,2,4:

  • Fatigue and difficulty sleeping
  • Weight gain
  • Digestive problems
  • High blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Issues with memory and cognition 

5 Tips for Managing Stress:

  1. Meditate for Relief: Meditation might conjure images of a dark, quiet room with burning candles, but it can be done anywhere at any time.5 You can set aside a few minutes in your day to listen to a guided meditation on YouTube or try activities like tai chi that combine movement and deep breathing to help you reconnect and meditate.
  2. Get Moving: If meditation isn't your thing, physical activity is an excellent way to combat stress. Exercise releases endorphins, often referred to as the body's "happy hormones," which provide a post-workout rush.6 Whether you prefer running, hitting the gym, or cycling, regular physical activity not only benefits your mental health but also your physical well-being.
  3. Pursue Hobbies: Taking time for your hobbies can boost your mood and lower cortisol levels.7 Whether it's engaging in a sport, trying woodworking, or traveling to a destination you've always wanted to visit, hobbies can provide a great escape from the stressors of daily life.
  4. Prioritize Sleep: Getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep, even when you're stressed, can help regulate cortisol levels, support your metabolism, and promote heart health.8
  5. Consider Supplements: If you find it challenging to manage your stress, you can explore supplements like RELAX, which is formulated with Rhodiola rosea, known for its stress and anxiety-relieving properties. 9-13 This natural supplement also includes other ingredients like piperine, naringin, L-theanine, L-dopa, and 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) to enhance energy levels and combat fatigue, boost mood, and support mental health.14,15

In Conclusion: Stress is a common part of life, but chronic stress can take a toll on your mental and physical well-being. By understanding the effects of stress on your body and implementing the tips provided in this article, you can take steps to regain control over your life and prioritize your mental and physical health.16,17

 man meditating

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References
  1. Stress in America 2022. American Psychological Association. Updated October 2022. Accessed October 25, 2023.
  2. How Stress Affects Your Health. American Psychological Association. Updated October 31, 2022. Accessed October 25, 2023.
  3. Yaribeygi H, Panahi Y, Sahraei H, Johnston TP, Sahebkar A. The impact of stress on body function: a review. EXCLI J. 2017;16:1057-1072.
  4. Chronic Stress Puts Your Health at Risk. Mayo Clinic. Updated August 1, 2023. Accessed October 25, 2023.
  5. Meditation: A Simple, Fast Way to Reduce Stress. Mayo Clinic. Updated April 29, 2022. Accessed October 25, 2023.
  6. Exercising to Relax. Harvard Health Publishing. Updated July 7, 2020. Accessed October 25, 2023.
  7. How Hobbies Improve Mental Health. Utah State University. Updated October 25, 2021. Accessed October 25, 2023.
  8. How Sleep Works: Why Is Sleep Important? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Updated March 24, 2022. Accessed October 25, 2023.
  9. Darbinyan V, Kteyan A, Panossian A, Gabrielian E, Wikman G, Wagner H. Rhodiola rosea in stress induced fatigue – a double blind cross-over study of a standardized extract SHR-5 with a repeated low-dose regimen on the mental performance of healthy physicians during night duty. Phytomedicine. 2000 Oct;7(5):365-71.
  10. Shevtsov VA, Zholus BI, Shervarly VI, Vol'skij VB, Korovin YP, Khristich MP, Roslyakova NA, Wikman G. A randomized trial of two different doses of a SHR-5 Rhodiola rosea extract versus placebo and control of capacity for mental work. Phytomedicine. 2003 Mar;10(2-3):95-105.
  11. Cropley M, Banks AP, Boyle J. The Effects of Rhodiola rosea L. extract on anxiety, stress, cognition and other mood symptoms. Phytother Res. 2015 Dec;29(12):1934-9.
  12. Edwards D, Heufelder A, Zimmermann A. Therapeutic effects and safety of Rhodiola rosea extract WS® 1375 in subjects with life-stress symptoms--results of an open-label study. Phytother Res. 2012 Aug;26(8):1220-5.
  13. Lekomtseva Y, Zhukova I, Wacker A. Rhodiola rosea in subjects with prolonged or chronic fatigue symptoms: results of an open-label clinical trial. Complement Med Res. 2017;24(1):46-52.
  14. 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP). Mount Sinai. Accessed October 25, 2023.
  15. Hidese S, Ogawa S, Ota M, Ishida I, Yasukawa Z, et al. Effects of L-theanine administration on stress-related symptoms and cognitive functions in healthy adults: a randomized controlled trial. Nutrients. 2019;11(10):2362.
  16. Gandhi KR, Saadabadi A. Levodopa (L-Dopa). StatPearls [Internet]. Updated April 17, 2023. Accessed October 25, 2023.
  17. Gorgani L, Mohammadi M, Najafpour GD, Nikzad M. Piperine–the bioactive compound of black pepper: from isolation to medicinal formulations. Compr Rev Food Sci Food Saf. 2017;16(1):124-140.