Stress management – how does stress affect you and how do you cope?
Stress is defined as how the brain and body respond to any demand. When demands become challenging, or are upsetting or traumatic in nature, the body is affected. Chronic stress over longer periods of time negatively affects the human body, causing disturbances in virtually all body systems.
What are some examples of how stress affects the body?
- Sleep disturbances: sleeping much less or much more than usual
- Mood changes: sadness, irritability and moodiness are common. Over time, chronic stress may precipitate the development of depression or anxiety.
- Digestive changes: heartburn, nausea, diarrhea may occur alongside changes in appetite.
- Difficulty concentrating, headaches, fatigue, aches, dry mouth, clenched jaw and many more
As stress impacts everyone differently, it’s important to learn what personal strategies work best for you. We’ve compiled a list of general measures and supplements as well as the evidence behind them:
A meta-analysis published in Psychosomatic Medicine (March 2013) found that multivitamin supplementation significantly reduced stress. Multivitamins used in trials include Berocca and Centrum. It is, however, important to note that while multivitamins may not directly cause clinical improvement with regards to stress and/or mood, they may help to reduce perceived stress.
Additional research shows that B-vitamin supplementation was helpful for stress and mood
Omega-3 fatty acids: Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids (FAs) have significant antidepressant effects in those with depression. Stress in the absence of clinical depression or anxiety does not warrant omega-3 FA supplementation, however. A recent meta-analysis published in The British Journal of Psychiatry (October 2019) found that omega-3 FA supplementation does very little (maybe even nothing) to prevent symptoms of anxiety or depression.
Natural products containing ashwagandha, L-theanine, GABA and more have mixed evidence for stress.
Getting regular exercise, practicing mindfulness and maintaining social connections are evidence-backed tips for managing stress.
Overall, stress management needs to be individualized and it may take several tries to find what works for you. We provide personalized advice on stress management in hopes of helping people relieve stress so that they can reach their full potential!