Stress: Expert advice on what it is and how to cope

Almost 1 in 3 people in New Zealand say they have had personal experience of mental distress*, with much of this being attributed to feeling overwhelmed by stress and not able to cope. But what is it and what to do? We asked Medical Herbalist and artemis Herbal Research and Technical Advisor, Laura Bylsma, about it.

We hear that stress is an increasing problem in NZ… but what exactly is it?

Laura: Stress is a physical and emotional response to a demand (stressor) It could be a real threat. But it could also be a response activated by our own negative thoughts and beliefs. ‘Negative self-talk’ is a phrase commonly used to describe this. Not all stress is bad. Our nervous system is designed to respond, to fire up our adrenal glands and to recover quickly. The problems occur when we can’t ‘turn off’ those emotional and physical responses and we stay on ‘high alert’ with our adrenal glands constantly stimulated for long periods.

So why is that bad for us?

Laura: Signs of prolonged stress can include poor quality sleep, digestive disturbances, blood sugar imbalances, low immunity hormonal and fertility issues. In a nutshell, a cycle of too much stress means your mental and physical wellbeing is compromised and challenged.

When I get stressed I feel really wound up. But my daughter says she’s stressed and then she just hides under a blanket on the couch – really?

Laura: There are two ways that you can 'feel' stress. Feeling "wired and tired" is common in our fast-paced lives, when you're pulled into a constant state of being busy, but you just keep going. But if you take the wired away, you just feel tired. And "low and slow" is the other side of the stress spectrum , indicated by lethargy, low moods, and mental exhaustion.

So what can I do?

Laura: Identify your stress type. Then try and reduce the stressors in your life. Of course if you are really under threat this may not be possible. Focus on good nutrition, exercise and rest – the key ingredients for good health… You can also get extra support and nourishment for your nervous system and adrenals using all natural plant based remedies.

Wired and tired?

Try artemis De-Stress Organic Tea Formula (previously artemis Rest & Relax). Formulated to support your adrenal glands and calm an anxious mind, this will help to turn off your fight or flight system, which can keep your mind buzzing, and help activate your rest and digest system.

Easily absorbed, gentle on your digestive system and with no risk of addiction, artemis teas are 100% natural, organic, non-GMO with no artificial ingredients or additives. 

Always read the label and use as directed. If symptoms persist, see your health professional. artemis Brands Ltd, Dunedin. TAPS: PP4657

*Survey: Wellbeing and Mental Distress in Aotearoa New Zealand: Snapshot 2016

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