3 Ways to Lower Stress This Season

2013Dec17_GenPharma_AAnxiety, stress, depression… we’ve all experienced one or all of them at some time or another. Especially around the holiday season, the causes can vary. You might be under tight deadlines at work, worried about finances, experiencing issues at home or concerned about a loved one with an illness. Whatever the case, experiencing some of the following symptoms could symbolize a full-blown anxiety disorder or just a temporary spell:

  • Impatience and irritability

  • Chest tightness

  • Poor concentration

  • Rapid breathing and heartbeat

  • Fatigue

  • Sweating

  • Headache

While many people require prescription medications to ease the symptoms associated with depression and anxiety disorders, many others can find relief in the form of a non-drug remedy, whether it’s a natural supplement or a mind-body technique.

Read on to learn about three methods for reducing stress and anxiety this holiday season.

#1: Choose the right diet.

People are almost always anxious and irritable when they’re hungry. It’s important to eat small, healthy meals and snacks throughout the day to prevent a drop in blood sugar.

Certain teas contain ingredients that can calm you down. In chamomile tea, the matricaria recutita compound binds to the same brain receptors as drugs like Valium. Meanwhile, green tea contains an amino acid called L-theanine. Research shows that it reduces heart rate and blood pressure to reduce anxiety.

Health professionals testify that eating breakfast has many health benefits. Believe it or not, a reduction in stress and anxiety is one of them! People with anxiety are known to skip breakfast, but some breakfast foods like eggs, which are rich in choline, are associated with lower levels of anxiety.

Another tactic to consider is eating more omega-3s. Studies have shown that fish oil is good for heart health, depression and anxiety. Oily, cold-water fish like salmon, anchovies, sardines and mussels are the best source of omega-3s. You may also consider taking a fish oil supplement.

#2: Select the right vitamins and supplements.

Many supplements and vitamins have been researched for their ability to reduce anxiety, but only a few have sufficient evidence showing their effectiveness. According to WebMD, kava, melatonin and passionflower may be effective. Additional supplements that may lower stress and reduce anxiety include:

  • GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid): This amino acid works to maintain equilibrium among neurotransmitters in the brain.

  • Vitamin B: Vitamins B6, B1 and B3 are known for their positive effects on the nervous system.

  • Vitamin C: Its role in brain chemistry and adrenal function can have a tranquilizing effect that decreases anxiety.

  • Vitamin E: Its role in transporting oxygen to the brain seems to lower anxiety and depression, especially in women with premenstrual syndrome.

#3: Get adequate sleep.

When you’re stressed, your mind is occupied with finances, relationships and that big project at work. When it comes time to turn out the lights, sleep may be the furthest thing from your mind, but we all know that getting about 8 hours of shut eye each night is critical to your overall health. A lack of sleep can heighten anxiety, stress and depression, and it can worsen an already bad mood.

Luckily, there are supplements that can help you drift off to sleep, thus helping you fight off stress. Dr. Tasneem Bhatia, Medical Director and Founder of the Atlanta Center for Holistic and Integrative Medicine, recommends melatonin, magnesium and valerian root for getting to sleep and maintaining it.

We know the holidays can be stressful, so we encourage you to be prepared! Whether you need prescription medications, vitamins and supplements or personalized recommendations from one of our staff, we have what you need. Please visit the store or give us a call at [phone_main] for more information about how you can lower stress and anxiety in your life.

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