So, how are you feeling today?
Kids stressing you out? Leccy bill just come in? Had a row with your partner? Got a headache? All these events will give you, in order of importance – stress, stress, stress and more stress! Below are 10 ways to relieve stress.
Stress is one of the biggest killers and causes of disease known to man. It comes in many guises, or shall I say, disguises and is not limited to losing your job or having to look after a sick child or elderly relative.
Many of the stressors we have to cope with are hidden and not even realized by us. Inflammation is a serious stressor which we often don’t know we have. Arteries that are insidiously getting blocked and toxins that are building up in our bodies, calcifications that are being laid down in our soft tissue and organs.
Our amazing bodies
These stressors are debilitating but most of the time we know nothing about them, until they become so severe that we start to feel unwell and off colour. Your body is an amazing piece of biological equipment and it will do its best to keep you in good fettle, until it gets so sick, it can’t keep up the pretence any more and one day you know there’s something wrong. By this time, the condition or conditions you’re suffering from are probably well established.
What exactly is stress?
Stress is a part of everyday life and our modern way of living keeps us stressed for long periods at a time and this is the problem. When our body is under stress, we release stress hormones specifically epinephrine (adrenaline), cortisol and aldosterone. This is a natural response but the body does not distinguish between you being chased by a wild animal or being late taking the kids to school!
The release of these hormones is a basic survival mechanism giving you extra strength to muscles including the heart muscle, so you have the best chance of facing an attacker (or the traffic). We call it the ‘fight-flight’ response. Once the perceived danger is over, the hormones will disperse and the body will return to normal. Trouble is, we’re always instigating this response with our continual daily stress. Most of us have chronic stress so our stress hormones are forever being triggered. I give a few examples of chronic stress below. If you suffer from just a few of these problems, you will be chronically stressed.
- Marriage breakup
- Having and caring for a sick child
- Caring for an elderly parent
- Having a high powered job
- Being in the services
- Having a partner in the services
- Being an only parent
- Having an illness/inflammation
- Having insomnia
- Being pregnant
- Having a newborn
- Doing regular intensive exercise/being an athlete
- Living in a hot climate
- Living in a cold climate
- Having poor living conditions
- Having a problem with neighbours
- Eating junk food and sodas
- Taking pharmaceutical or recreational drugs
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Moving house
- Regular caffeine intake
- Living alone
- Most importantly, not having the nutrition to cope with the above, the most vital being Magnesium
What has Magnesium got to do with it?
Everything! Every time the stress hormones are triggered, magnesium is necessary to give the energy to activate the fight-flight response. Each one of our 37.2 trillion cells produces and consumes ATP (adenosine triphosphate) a substance which is the energy currency of our bodies. It fuels everything within us. Without it, we die. But ATP cannot work on its own. It needs a cofactor to join with it and that cofactor is magnesium.
Magnesium ions bind to the ATP molecules forming a compound known as Mg-ATP. Magnesium activates ATP and without it our energy ‘batteries’ cannot be accessed. Mg is known as the ‘spark of life’ for good reason! When researchers and scientists refer to ATP it is the activated form which is Mg-ATP. Unfortunately, most of the time the Mg prefix is dropped. This is to the detriment of understanding how vital magnesium is for the body. Activated ATP should always be referred to as Mg-ATP.
Stressy conditions for a caveman
In the times of our ancient ancestors, stress would be more related to staying alive. Chasing your dinner on a daily basis or being chased by a wild animal such as a cave bear. Perhaps coming across a ferocious cave lion. They were the largest carnivores of ice age Britain, standing 4.5ft (1.4m) tall at the shoulder. This would be the type of stress a caveman would have to contend with. But chronic psychological or social stress was likely not such a problem. Finding enough money to pay the gas bill or getting little Johnnie to do his homework is not applicable to stoneage man. Life was simple. Up at dawn, hunt, fish, gather nuts, roots, berries and at dusk, eat, relax and sleep.
No junk food for stoneage man
He may have had to cope with being hungry and cold sometimes, but he would not be eating trans fats, junk food and sodas. Apart from their healthy eating habits, ancient man probably lived in small harmonious family groups. The young were cared for by all the adults. Everyone in the group would have their tasks to do. The elders were looked up to for leadership and wisdom. It would be uncommon for someone elderly to live on their own. It is impossible to know for sure how our ancestors really lived but we can be sure they didn’t have the same day to day chronic stress levels that we suffer now.
Stressy conditions now
For us modern day humans, the stress we encounter is most likely much more damaging than that experienced by our ancestors. Why is this? Because we are under chronic stress all the time. Not only the stress of modern day living, but the stress we put our bodies under regarding our junk food diet and long term emotional and psychological issues. Our stress is continuous. As soon as we wake, our day of tension begins. If we didn’t get much sleep, we would have been anxious during the night, especially if we’d been drinking most of the previous evening and finishing off with a late night curry or pizza.
Our caveman counterpart would have been too tired to party most of the night and would be up at dawn to go hunting for food. Humans are gregarious animals and our ancestors are known to have lived in groups. Today, many people live alone, especially the elderly. Not having the company of others for much of the day is not natural for humans. Today, the loneliness that many have to endure makes for a continuously stressful life. Being lonely will have a detrimental effect on your health. It is normal for humans to be social.
My 10 tips for relieving stress
So here are my 10 ways to relieve stress, starting with the most important – make sure you are replete in Magnesium.
- Take a good quality Mg supplement like Ionic Magnesium.
- Always make time every day to relax for a while. Make sure you’re not working on your computer and try and turn off the phone, I know you’re addicted, but do your best. Going for a walk and getting some fresh air can often lift your mood and calm you down. Perhaps just sitting with your eyes closed listening to some relaxing music. Make sure, if you can, that you’re not disturbed during your down time.
- If you’re an insomniac, Mg will definitely help you sleep. Don’t watch TV or use the computer an hour before bedtime and don’t eat or drink late. If you go to bed at 11pm, don’t eat after 8pm. Take one of your Mg doses in the evening to aid restful sleep.
- Avoid caffeine, especially after teatime, it can stop you sleeping as can milk or other calcium drinks. Calcium does the opposite to Mg, it is the tension mineral whereas Mg is the relaxation mineral.
- Don’t overdo the exercise regime. Unless you’re in training, getting 15 minute intensive workouts 3-4 times a week is enough to keep most people fit. Don’t exercise before bed, it will stop you feeling sleepy.
- Write everything down that worries you and make a list of things to do. This will help take the anxiety from your mind and lessen your stress. Mg is a natural anti depressant and will lighten your mood and reduce stress levels. With it you can cope better with every day stressors.
- Take a nice hot bath and put in a couple of cups of Epsom salts (Mg sulphate). If you haven’t got time for a bath, try a foot soak instead, again with some Epsom salts. This is another way of taking in Mg. It easily gets absorbed through the skin.
- Get your partner to give you a neck massage and return the favour. A foot massage is also very relaxing.
- Try some meditation or yoga. There are plenty of websites to help you. Here’s one with 10 poses for stress relief.
- Finally, change your diet to include healthy fresh foods like vegetables, a few fruits, nuts and seeds and as much organic meat and fish as you can afford. Make an effort to cook more at home. Use only healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil, organic coconut oil and avocado oil. There are plenty of recipes on the web for simple, quick but nourishing meals for busy Mums.
- I know I said ten tips but just have a look at this little video. This is my favourite clip and I put it into many of my posts. It gives you an idea how your cells work with regards to your Mg:Ca ratio which should be 1:1. Calcium is abundant in our diet, so much so that Mg intake is usually insufficient to counteract the Ca we consume and keep the two minerals in balance. See what happens when Mg is deficient.
With all the above tips under your belt, you will start to feel more chilled and able to cope. This will do wonders for your general health and you will start to recognise when your stress levels rise to unacceptable levels. You will be in control and you will be able to reduce your stress and help your family to do the same. The most important advice I can give you is to make sure your Mg levels our replete. Don’t forget, stress will deplete Mg at an alarming rate. If you know you will be under extra stress, up your Mg intake to help you cope.
Please add your input by commenting on this post. I would love to hear from you and I always respond to comments. Ches