Stress is the way we react to any change that requires an adjustment or response. We may react to these changes with physical, mental, and emotional responses. Stress is a part of life and as I have noted previously not all stress has a negative effect on us but the stress I am referring to today is the stress which does have a negative impact on us and therefore our families.
The body’s short-term and long-term reaction to stress is described as general adaptation syndrome. General adaptation syndrome (GAS) is a three-phase reaction to stress as seen in the below diagram. For a full explanation of all of the phases, click here.
After an extended period of stress, our body goes into the final phase of the general adaptation syndrome – the exhaustion phase which is the last third in the diagram above. We can only fight or flee for so long before it begins to wear down our capacity to resist and deal with stress. Our body has depleted its energy resources by continually trying but failing to recover from the initial alarm reaction phase. This is the phase where many readers seem to be at the moment.
Struggling with stress for long periods can drain our physical, emotional, and mental resources to the point where our body no longer has the strength to fight stress. This is where we are spending lots of time in the exhaustion phase of the stress response and it can see us experience:
- feeling unable to cope
- decreased stress tolerance
There are certain things we can do to reduce stress in our life, but at times life can be very stressful regardless of how great our mitigation strategies are and this is where adaptogenic herbs can help us.
Adaptogenic herbs are a select group of herbs that have powerful properties to help our bodies cope with the stressors of modern life. Adaptogens work at a molecular level by regulating the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the regulation of key mediators of the stress response. What this means in reality is adaptogens help our bodies by increasing our ability to resist stress in the first place and also decreasing our sensitivity to stressors over the long term.
If you would like to understand more about the science behind how adaptogens work and how they can help you here check out our page on How Adaptogens Work.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION: all content provided here is of a general nature only and is not a substitute for individualised professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and reliance should not be placed on it. For personalised medical or nutrition advice, please make an appointment with your doctor, dietitian or qualified health care professional.