Supplements to Break the Stress Cycle
Are you caught up in the stress cycle? It starts with mild tension and builds into something that takes on a life of its own with each challenge — and sometimes even without one. Stress is both a physical and an emotional manifestation, but a natural one. It’s the body’s defence mechanism against danger. Stress heightens the senses and reflexes to enable that fight or flight mechanism designed to keep you safe.
For some people, stress becomes a way of life, instead of a response to danger. The smallest thing can trigger it, and even when you learn to relax a bit and control the symptoms, the stress always comes back. When it occurs in a repetitive cycle, stress has the potential to impede your health. Finding ways to control it is a critical part of a healthy lifestyle.
What Effect Does Stress Have on the Body?
Excessive anxiety can lead to headaches, muscle tension, and elevated blood pressure. Over time, you have difficulty sleeping and experience problems like chest pain and acid reflux. Chronic stress puts you at risk for life-threatening illnesses such as hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
There are many ways you can control stress. Exercise, for example, is one of the best options to relieve daily stress. It triggers the release of endorphins that calm you down and enhance your feeling of wellbeing.
Exercise doesn’t really break that cycle, though. It just relieves the stress once it builds. Adding a few dietary supplements to your stress relief toolbox can work in combination with other strategies and help you manage anxiety and avoid the cycle.
How to Find the Right Supplements for Stress Management
The most effective way to stop stress is to eliminate the source of it, but some people are more sensitive to it and can’t avoid developing a pattern of stress. Since you can’t control everything in your life that causes you worry, you have to take a different approach to stress management.
The side effects of stress can increase your worry, creating a cycle of increasing anxiety. This is where dietary supplements offer real relief, especially in the right combinations. Start by writing down how stress makes you feel:
Do you have trouble sleeping?
Feel joint pain related to muscle tension?
Get emotional or feel rage?
Tend to get sick more with a cold or flu?
Feel tired all the time?
These are all common side effects of stress. Once you have a list in hand, match it up with effective supplements, because controlling the symptoms helps reduce your stress.
Supplements That Help You Sleep
If insomnia is on your list, break it down further. If you have difficulty relaxing enough to sleep, look for a supplement that contains magnesium. If you don’t feel sleepy at bedtime, try something with melatonin. Valerian root is effective if you have trouble staying asleep.
Supplements for Bone and Muscle Health
If stress leaves you feeling achy, especially in your joints, there are a number of supplements that help. Start with a green lipped mussel product to control the chronic inflammation that comes from tensing up. Looks for products that enhance cartilage and promote tissue repair as well, like glucosamine.
Supplements to Boost Your Immune System
Stress lowers your body’s ability to fight off infections like the common cold. You can combat that naturally with a vitamin C supplement. Consider adding something to balance your mood swings like theanine‑an element found in green and black tea. The combination of these natural treatments will boost your immune system, allowing your body to ward off illness and keeping you out of the sick bed.
A little stress is a good thing because it tends to motivate people—but too much leads to a destructive cycle that causes damage. Creating a supplement strategy to break the stress cycle is a positive step towards improving your overall health.
WebMD, The effects of stress on your body, Joseph Goldberg, MD, June 2016
Psychology Today, Caught in a stress cycle, Stuart Shanker DPhil, August 2016
The Dr. OZ Show, Supplements that fight stress, Dr. Tasneem Bhatia, December 2011
- Darla Ferrara