Chances are, your stress levels are just about through the roof these days. And it’s no wonder. With working-from-home, dealing with new adjustments and restrictions, and managing relationships in the time of a pandemic- we’re all at our wits end.
We don’t hear about it on the news or see billboards for it on the highway- but, stress is an epidemic too. And it’s one of the most widespread and debilitating conditions in the world, yet many people don’t know how to manage it properly, or how dangerous the long-term effects are on the body- specifically on the nervous system.
In this article, we’re taking a look at what stress does to the body, and outline some simple ways to support your nervous system during stressful times.
What Happens to the Nervous System When You’re Stressed?
Our autonomic nervous system (ANS) is a system that is responsible for regulating all of our unconscious bodily functions- like heart rate, digestion, respiratory rate, urination and arousal.
The ANS is divided into two systems: the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS).
Our SNS plays a direct role in our physical response to stress, and activates what’s known as our fight or flight response. This evolutionary response was meant to protect us from danger by encouraging us to either escape the danger, or fight. But in present day society, it’s often not the most appropriate response to the situation; nowadays our stress isn’t from fear of being eaten by a bear but more about the stress of a demanding work environment or the overwhelming responsibilities of our personal lives.
There are two main types of stress:
- Acute stress is the immediate reaction to a threatening situation. Once the threat is gone, our hormones go back to normal without leaving any lasting effects.
- Chronic stress is constant, on-going stress that is not triggered by a dangerous or life-threatening situation.
Chronic stress can result in a long-term drain on your overall health; as the nervous system continues to trigger these physical reactions, it causes unnecessary wear and tear on the body.
Some researchers actually believe that acute stress (in small amounts) is good for overall brain performance. This is because adrenaline and norepinephrine are produced as a result of stress- causing you to think and move fast in an emergency situation. These hormones don’t linger for long though- they dissolve soon after they were created.
What makes chronic stress so damaging to our health is the presence of a third stress hormone, cortisol. Unlike adrenaline and norepinephrine, cortisol can linger throughout your body all day.
Excessive levels of cortisol can lead to a number of physical health problems like digestive problems, pain and inflammation, weight gain, hormone imbalances, heart disease and even diabetes.
But the good news is, there’s no reason to stress about being stressed- as a society we understand much more today about the effects that stress has on our bodies, and we have several effective strategies for reducing stress responses.
How to Support a Healthy Nervous System
Any trouble with the nervous system can seriously affect your quality of life. To reduce the risk of suffering from a weak nervous system, it’s essential to take charge of your health.
With simple lifestyle changes, dietary adjustments and home remedies, you can strengthen your nervous system and greatly improve your quality of life- even in extremely stressful times (ahem, like a global pandemic).
Here are some ways for you to strengthen and support your nervous system:
The goal of meditation is to become more mindful and be more direct with your attention and responsive (not reactive) to your thoughts and emotions.
Meditation allows you to identify, observe, and master your feelings and emotions. Instead of blindly reacting, you can train your mind to respond in a more constructive way to a stressful situation. Several ways to practice mediation are counting, reciting mantras, breathing, practicing mindfulness and positive self-talk.
Did you know that CBD and meditation actually go together like peanut butter and jelly? Similar to the practice of meditation, CBD has properties that can help to soothe the mind and body- which is why so many people choose to boost their daily meditation with a dose of CBD oil.
Talk to Someone
Us humans are social creatures, and we thrive when we have help and support from our community. Talking to someone who loves and supports you is a great way to relieve stress. If you don’t feel entirely comfortable talking to someone who’s close to you, you can also talk to a licensed therapist who will help you identify the challenges and stressors of daily life, and will help you find constructive, personalized ways to manage stress.
Identify Your Stress Triggers
It is not always possible to avoid stress. However, taking note of specific triggers can help a person develop healthy coping strategies for dealing with stress.
Prioritize Working Out
Physical activity increases the body’s production of endorphins, which help to boost mood and reduce stress. If you shy away from the treadmill or your new set of weights because of the soreness and pain after a long hard workout, let CBD help! Experts are finding that CBD may be an effective way of relieving the soreness that exercise can sometimes cause, and it can even shorten the recovery time post-workout!
Getting poor quality (or not enough) sleep can contribute to chronic stress and even a weakened immune system as well. If you’re trying to support a healthy nervous system in times of stress, aim to get at least 7 hours every night, and maybe even try setting an alarm for going to sleep and waking up.
If you’re interested in learning about getting better zzzz’s, head over to The Bloom to read more about the benefits of taking CBD for sleep!
Seek out Sunshine
The Great Outdoors offers healing through serotonin-producing sunshine, mineral-rich soil, and oxygen-producing plants. Low levels of serotonin can greatly affect your mood and is often associated with depression. One study even found that spending time in the woods can lead to decreases in blood pressure, serum cortisol levels, and urinary adrenaline. Take advantage of all that nature has to offer, and get outside to support your nervous system during especially stressful times.
This is the most basic and easiest way to reduce your stress levels. It sounds simple, but many people don’t practice it enough! This can take different forms for different people, but it’s so important to prioritize having fun in stressful situations. It may take some effort, but if you think about it like it’s your job to schedule fun time the same way you schedule meetings, this practice will become a habit and you’ll find yourself with more time on your hands to do what you enjoy.
Don’t Stress-Out About Stress
Above all, if you find yourself getting stressed out, try not to add more to that by being worried about your stress levels. This may seem obvious, but when you’re thrown into the middle of a crisis, this is a little harder to be aware of.
As you can see, there are plenty of fun and easy ways to support your nervous system and relieve stress. But if you’re looking for a few more ways to feel better naturally, head over to this article for some more tips about using CBD for anxiety.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Click HERE and HERE to find evidence of a test, analysis, research, or study describing the benefits, performance or efficacy of CBD Oil based on the expertise of relevant professionals. Consult with a physician before use if you have a serious medical condition or use prescription medications. Always talk to your doctor before using this and any supplemental dietary product. The Cannabidiol (CBD) in Rosebud CBD is a natural constituent of industrial hemp plant and grown in the United States of America. Rosebud CBD does not sell or distribute any products that are in violation of the United States Controlled Substances Act (US CSA). All products contain less than 0.3% THC and are legal in all 50 states.