Stress is a state in which it is preferable to avoid being at all. The harm resulting from stress would be the cause of up to 35% of the absentee rate in the workplace. To different degrees, a third of the population would also be affected by anxiety.
Stress, what exactly is it? The stress response is the body’s reaction which enables us to react to various threats, benign or serious, that we face on a daily basis. This reaction is meant for short term protection: confrontation (the reflex to catch a ball when it is thrown in our face), flight (running to shelter for protection from a storm) or immobilisation (standing still faced with a wild animal). These decisions must be taken rapidly.
When stress is constant, the body enters into a “resistance phase”, during which the adrenal glands continually secrete cortisol. Too much cortisol creates many physiological consequences: :
- Exhaustion of the adrenal glands
- Increase of blood glucose levels (cause of diabetes)
- Decrease in calcium absorption levels (cause of osteoporosis)
- Slower digestion (cause of weight gain and different digestive upsets such as ulcers)
- Deterioration of the dermis (skin aging)
- Weakened immune system..
Constant secretion of cortisol tires the hypothalamus, which is then unable to exercise its normal regulatory function. Too much cortisol in the hypothalamus is a cause of depression. How to recognize the signs of stress? Stress is manifested through different symptoms which are either physical (muscular tension, headaches, sleep disorders, digestive upsets… ), emotional (irritation, agitation, anxiety, difficulty concentrating…) or behavioural(disorganisation, interrelational problems, avoiding demanding situations…). Do you recognize yourself in these? If you are experiencing some of these symptoms it is important to act now. Stress that is not properly handled or untreated anxiety may lead to more sever chronic issues such as: alcoholism, irritable bowel syndrome, hypertension and depression. Even more so if the source of stress also involves other difficulties in family, environmental, financial or professional contexts.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) indicates that by 2020, depression will become the 2nd leading cause of disability, not far behind cardio vascular troubles. No one wants to be a part of these dire statistics.
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is used in phytotherapy to help sleep (in cases of agitation or insomnia related to mental stress). Native Americans abundantly used passionflower in the kitchen and for the treatment of certain ailments. European explorers introduced it to Europe where, even today, passionflower is included in the composition of many medicinal preparations.
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