Stress Reduction Tips

“Stress” produces very real physical, mental and emotional changes, which are cummulative. Severe stress can cause permanent damage. So, it’s certainly a good investment in your health to reduce stress. A major stress chemical is cortisol, which is produced by the outer “cortex” of the adrenal gland.

We all know about adrenaline, and how an adrenaline rush gets the heart beating faster, maybe causing sweaty palms or a nervous feeling. This adrenaline “rush” (more like a squirt into the bloodstream) comes with unnecessary secretion of cortisol as well, which ultimately depletes this important natural anti-inflammatory biochemical. Chronic high cortisol also triggers insulin release, which causes available glucose to be pushed out of the blood into the cells, thereby making us crave a quick fix, of guess what? You got it… Sugar! Eating sweets is definitely not a good way to bust stress; in fact is is one of the worst ways. Instead, you need to eat clean, lean protein and plenty of fresh, deeply colored vegetables (kale, spinach, beets, carrots, salad greens, peppers, etc.) Also remember, stress in the body is a form of pollution. One solution to pollution is dilution. With pure water. At least 64 ounces (one quart) daily. Avoid stimulants such as caffeine and loud music, and minimize demanding or scary relationships. Keep regular sleep hours, and try to keep your bedroom dark and quiet at night. The B vitamins are terrific stress busters, especially B5 (pantothenic acid), which is a specific tonic for the adrenal glands. Take up to 250 mg daily, but in a complex with all the other B vitamins as well. Licorice tea is a lovely adrenal tonic but occasionally will increase blood pressure in those already prone to hypertension, especially if you have a low potassium diet. Licorice (Glycerrhiza glabra) is rarely a problem for those eating plenty of greens. In tea or solid extract form, Licorice (up to 2 grams daily) a very effective stress reducer. However, my very favorite stress buster is to “bathe” under a green light. A true green light casts an orange shadow, and has been shown in studies to lower cortisol. GE caries a green flood-light style lamp for about $40. I have used this with patients very reliably for over 10 years, and read to my daughter nightly under a green light. We both sleep well because of it! The green light is absorbed through the skin. Get naked under it! Use for 20-45 minutes daily, but longer is fine. A good source for green lights is ATR Lighting (800-624-4568 — ask for item 11283). Breathe deeply and spend time outside and with people you love (and who love you) whenever possible.