3 phases of stress
- Phase 1 (Alarm) – your ‘fight or flight’ response; increases cortisol and adrenaline
- Phase 2 (Resistance) – persistent, prolonged stress with your body attempting to ‘adapt or normalise’; facilitates elevated cortisol production
- Phase 3 (Exhaustion) – elevated cortisol production initiates cortisol resistance, decreasing cortisol production; your body’s resources become depleted, unable to mount any stress response (adrenal fatigue)
Chronically elevated cortisol
Persistent and prolonged stress appears to be the new ‘norm’, reaching epidemic proportions in today’s fast-paced world. During Phase 1, elevated cortisol and adrenaline drive essential changes in the body, helping you to focus and react quickly to acute stress. On the down side, chronically elevated cortisol that accompanies prolonged stress results in many non-essential stress related changes in the body. Most people exposed to long-term stress are caught up in Phase 2.
Managing long-term stress
Managing long-term stress may help people to perform in peak condition and relieve the stress of study or work. Long-term stress tends to be managed by regulating cortisol release through adrenal gland support with specific herbs and nutrients, in combination with positive lifestyle changes:
Rhodiola is an adaptogenic herb, typically standardised to contain the active components, salidroside and rosavin, which may enhance physical and mental performance during times of stress and fatigue. Adaptogenic herbs help the body resist physical, mental and emotional stressors while helping the body ‘adapt and cope’ with stress. Rhodiola also supports exercise endurance and performance and has been traditionally used in Eastern Europe and Asia to relieve fatigue, enhance physical and mental endurance and increase work productivity. See more here: Stress Ease.
Withania is an adaptogenic and Ayurvedic tonic herb, traditionally used to restore vitality during debilitation, stress and exhaustion.
Licorice is traditionally used as an adrenal tonic which helps to maintain the tone and function of the adrenal glands.
Tyrosine is an amino acid and an essential precursor to hormones that regulate stress responses.
Positive lifestyle choices include:
- Eat a healthy and varied diet
- Exercise regularly
- Try meditation or yoga
- Deep breathing exercises
- Make time for things you enjoy
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
- Positive affirmations
- Reading a good book