We’ve all heard that stress is both unhealthy and unavoidable. But did you know that it’s also contagious? Yep!
In a recent, large-scale study investigating stress moving from person to person through observation and its physiological responses, researchers found that both men and women become just as stressed when observing indirect stress through a one-way glass, as they do from direct stress. And this empathetic form of stress has the same harmful hormonal and physiological responses that were thought to only result from direct stress.
Believe it or not, stress is needed for our survival. In short bursts it is protective, preparing us for “fight” or “flight”. But chronic stress – both direct AND observed – can be harmful to the body, due to the high amounts of the stress hormone cortisol which is released. Increased concentrations of cortisol is linked to a spectrum of metabolically related disorders including obesity and cardiovascular disease. Not only that, but permanently elevated levels of cortisol can potentially disturb the immune system and can even become toxic to the brain.
Thank goodness there are multiple avenues to manage stress, such as yoga, meditation, routine exercise! And for those who don’t prefer the physical relaxation route, there are stress-modulating herbs called adaptogens.
Adaptogens such as Rhodiola Rosea, Holy Basil, Schisandra, and Ashwagandha affect multiple body systems including our neurological, endocrine, and immune systems, as well as the body’s homeostasis and energy metabolism. This elite class of herbs greatly improve your body’s ability to adapt to stress, whether it’s an intense tennis match, a hectic daily schedule, constant loud noise, high altitudes, or any number of other stressors.
So don’t catch stress! Eating well, getting proper rest, staying active, relaxation techniques and maintaining social connection will all help protect you from chronic stress. And adding adaptogens to your routine can make you even more resilient to its damaging effects.
As a wellness coach, I’ve helped many people with stress management. And if there is stress in your life, I can help you too! Please contact me here or on my Facebook page, and together we can find a what works for you!