Let’s start at the beginning. WHAT ARE STRESS AND ANXIETY ABOUT?
Although stress and anxiety are not the same, they are closely related. Broadly speaking, we could differentiate them as follows:
Broadly speaking, we could say that stress has to do with an excessive workload.
It is a present and real situation. Each person experiences it differently, that is, the same situation for somebody can feel like an excessive workload, and for other people it might not represent any setback.
Anxiety has to do with anticipating something negative that has not yet happened (and maybe never will).
It is an excess of concern. It can be generated by sustained stress over time that begins to generate negative thoughts or concerns about a specific issue.
If stress is maintained over time, to the point of exhaustion, or anxiety feeds back and overtakes us affecting our life, we can speak of a stress or anxiety disorder.
HOW CAN I KNOW IF I AM STRESSED OR ANXIOUS?
Stress and anxiety can manifest themselves with an infinity of symptoms, we list some of the most common below:
- Dizziness and sweating
- Muscle tension
- Palpitations and tachycardia
- Nausea and vomiting
- Feeling of suffocation
- Excessive tiredness
- Dry mouth
- Frequent urination
PSYCHOLOGICAL AND BEHAVIORAL
- Fear of losing control
- Fear of going crazy
- Feeling of being lost
- Mental exhaustion
- Feeling of being accelerated
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling of memory loss
- Obsessive thoughts
HOW CAN WE MANAGE STRESS AND ANXIETY?
Stress and anxiety are multifactorial and, therefore, have to be addressed from different sides. The goal will never be to completely eliminate all symptoms, but to manage them.
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Stress has to do with an excessive workload, being the reaction to a challenge or demand (stressor). Therefore, it is a fact that is generated by a real and present situation. As each person is different, what for one is a normal workload, for another represents a stressful situation. It all depends on the tools available to each person.
Anxiety is generated by sustained stress over time that begins to generate negative thoughts or concerns about a specific topic. In these cases, it becomes a stress that continues after the stressor has disappeared.
It is estimated that 20% of the European population does not intake a sufficient daily amount of magnesium (about 250 milligrams a day). According to medical researcher Alberto Marfil: “In a stressful situation, the adrenal glands release adrenaline. This generates an influx of calcium into the cell and, at the same time, an output of magnesium. In turn, this magnesium deficit increases sensitivity to stress. " Here is a vicious cycle that is difficult to break.
Melatonin talks to the brain and tells when the sleep process starts. Magnesium, on the other hand, helps to find a state of calm during the day, to maintain a calm sleep throughout the night and to improve the production of melatonin.
Therefore, if you have a hectic lifestyle or are trying to sleep better with melatonin supplements, you should make sure you have good magnesium levels, as they work together to ensure a restful sleep..
According to the information mentioned above, magnesium supplementation can prevent and improve insomnia and can be used as an integrative treatment in combination with melatonin.
When it comes to regulating the level of anxiety, serotonin is the neurotransmitter that influences the inhibition and control of anger, mood swings, etc. GABA is responsible for relaxing the mind and body and is considered a natural brain painkiller. Norepinephrine regulates sleep patterns and, if we have a low level of this neurotransmitter, we can find ourselves with lack of motivation or sexual dissatisfaction, among others. Dopamine is another neurotransmitter that collaborates in functions related to sleep, movements, memory, behavior ... it has some incidence in anxiety states. And, of course, the endorphins that are known as the hormones of happiness that, in addition to having the function of inhibiting the transmission of pain to our brain, reduce anxiety levels and increase that feeling of well-being that we sometimes have.
GABA is gamma aminobutyric acid, it comes from glutamic acid and its role is to inhibit or reduce neuronal activity, and it plays an important role in behavior, cognition and the body's response to stress. Research suggests that GABA helps control fear and anxiety when neurons are over-excited.
Some plant extracts and supplements help increase gamma-aminobutyric acid in the brain, such as lemon balm and valerian extracts, the amino acid L-theanine present in tea, magnesium, taurine, passionflower, fermented vegetables and kefir, foods rich in vitamin B6, such as salmon or legumes, and meat rich in protein.