A survey of women has shown that they tend to experience physical symptoms of stress more than men.i Stress in women is thought to contribute to a number of conditions including Irritable Bowel Syndrome,ii frequent colds,iii insomnia, poor mental performance, and even weight gain.iv
WHAT CAN I DO?
The first thing to do is recognize the early signs of stress. When you have identified your triggers then you can take action to calm yourself.
Try the following:
• Recognize the signs: Loss of appetite, increased appetite, headaches, crying, sleeplessness, and oversleeping are all signs that you may be too stressed.
• Relax: Deep breathing, exercise, and meditation are all helpful.
• Control what you can: Focus on what you can get done and then let the rest of it go. You will never be able to accomplish everything you want to.
• Exercise: The stress response is also known as the "fight or flight" response, meaning that when you feel stress, your body is ready for action. Exercising has been shown to help with stress and anxiety.v
• Supplementation: there are many nutrients that can help with stress reduction.
◊ L-Theanine is an amino acid which is known to help reduce stress.vi It works on the brain to help people feel relaxed but not drowsy.
◊ Ashwagandha is an herb that has been studied to help reduce stress in humans.vii
◊ Beta Sitosterol is a natural plant sterol and that has helped reduce the increase in cortisol in normally seen in stressed athletes.viii
◊ is an amino acid used by the body to create the neurotransmitter norepinephrine and has helped to prevent a decline in cognitive function in response to physical stress.ix
One of the hardest things for many women to do is to think of themselves first, but taking care of yourself and reducing your stress is a great way to be present and available to the people around you.
i Almeida DM, Kessler RC. Everyday stressors and gender differences in daily distress. J Pers Soc Psychol. 1998 Sep;75(3):670-80. PMID: 9781406.
ii Przekop P, Haviland MG, Zhao Y, Oda K, Morton KR, Fraser GE. Self-reported physical health, mental health, and comorbid diseases among women with irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, or both compared with healthy control respondents. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2012 Nov;112(11):726-35. PMID: 23139343.
iii Schwartz BG, French WJ, Mayeda GS, et al. Emotional stressors trigger cardiovascular events. Int J Clin Pract. 2012 Jul;66(7):631-9. PMID: 22698415.
iv Barrington WE, Ceballos RM, Bishop SK, McGregor BA, Beresford SA. Perceived stress, behavior, and body mass index among adults participating in a worksite obesity prevention program, Seattle, 2005-2007. Prev Chronic Dis. 2012 Oct;9:E152. PMID: 23036611.
v Asmundson GJ, Fetzner MG, Deboer LB, et al. Let's get physical: a contemporary review of the anxiolytic effects of exercise for anxiety and its disorders. Depress Anxiety. 2013 Apr;30(4):362-73. PMID: 23300122.
vi Kimura K, Ozeki M, Juneja LR, Ohira H. L-Theanine reduces psychological and physiological stress responses. Biol Psychol. 2007 Jan;74(1):39-45. PMID: 16930802.
vii Auddy, Biswajit, et al. A standardized Withania somnifera extract significantly reduces stress-related parameters in chronically stressed humans: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. J Am Nutraceutical Assoc 11.1 (2008): 43-49.
viii Bouic PJ, Clark A, Lamprecht J, et al. The effects of B-sitosterol (BSS) and B-sitosterol glucoside (BSSG) mixture on selected immune parameters of marathon runners: inhibition of post marathon immune suppression and inflammation. Int J Sports Med. 1999 May;20(4):258-62. PMID: 10376483.
ix Shurtleff D, Thomas JR, Schrot J, Kowalski K, Harford R. Tyrosine reverses a cold-induced working memory deficit in humans. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1994 Apr;47(4):935-41. PMID: 8029265.
** Material courtesy of Shaklee Corporation Health Sciences