…offers natural relief for stressLIZ KOCH – Special to the Sentinel Article Launched: 11/04/2002 3:00:00 AM PST
Everyone I meet these days seems to be talking about how stressed out they feel.
Is stress always bad? And why are we all suffering from it?
Stress is the wear and tear our bodies experience as we adjust to a continually changing environment. Stress has physical and emotional effects that create positive or negative feelings.
As a positive influence, stress compels us to action. It results in new awareness and exciting new perspectives.
As a negative influence, it results in feelings of distrust, rejection, anger and depression, which in turn can lead to headaches, upset stomach, rashes, insomnia, ulcers, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
Some 90 percent of the complaints people bring to doctors are related to stress.
A prescription drug may offer temporary relief, but it doesn’t get to the root of the problem. It doesn’t explore why people are unable to handle pressure. It doesn’t teach us how to be flexible and resilient in the light of life’s continual changes.
Prescription drugs and many over-the-counter drugs bring their own problems that can add to the anxiety, insomnia and digestive upsets. In a landmark study at Harvard, people who coped poorly with stress became ill four times more often than those with good coping skills.
Another study of 30,000 people conducted by the Center for Disease Control found adults who experienced severe stress in childhood and adolescence are far more likely to suffer from heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, depression and other forms of stress.
In the 5,000-year-old Indian system of Ayurvedic medicine, it is not the stress that’s considered the problem — but the lack of options for handling what comes our way.
A burdened mind, body or emotions grows weaker, so that even small stressors appear overwhelming.
Becoming resilient through developing good coping skills is as vital to a healthy immune system as good food, water, sleep and exercise.
Optimum health and peak performance depend on feeling calm and relaxed when you’re under pressure.
The Ayurvedic medical model still used today is a natural, non-addictive way to restore balance to body, mind and emotions.
Through lifestyle changes, healthy eating habits and balancing herbs, it is possible to feel calm in the midst of our personal storms.
Liz Koch is the Way of Life health education coordinator.