How Stress Impacts Your Health and Wellness
December 14, 2017
How often have you found yourself feeling burdened down or overwhelmed by the stresses of every day life? Stress in one form or another is something that impacts just about all of us. The reasons for feeling stressed out are numerous, but according to a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, 62% of Americans are stressed over money and 61% are stressed over work.1 Additionally, stress can impact us negatively; one survey in Japan revealed that 30-40% of Japanese working-age men reported not being able to sleep due to work-related stress2. Other common symptoms that result from stress include fatigue, headaches, changes in appetite, and irritability. It is safe to say that too much stress, or not being able to manage stress effectively, can have a negative impact on your health and wellness.
Physiology of Stress
Stress can be short-lived (acute) or long-lasting (chronic). Short-lived stress is a "fight or flight" response, where our main stress hormone (cortisol) increases to help us respond to the stress. Examples of acute stress are preparing for an exam, a deadline at work, or even almost getting hit by a car. Once the stressful event is over, cortisol levels drop, and your body calms down. Our bodies are designed to handle acute stress effectively, but long-term stress is a different story.
If the stressor continues to persist (or is simply ignored), it can lead to chronic stress, which can negatively impact our health. Examples of chronic stress might include moving, loss of a job, health challenges, or financial insecurity. As acute stress becomes more chronic, cortisol levels remain high or even increase. Many individuals dealing with chronic stress experience increased appetite and carbohydrate cravings. Once these cravings kick in, the body is more likely to convert energy into fat when under chronic stress. Chronic stress can also lead to a less effective immune system, difficulty focusing, and as mentioned earlier, problems sleeping.
It is important to note that not everybody responds to stress the same way, and people can have a wide range of tolerances for different stressors. An event that may be very stressful for one person may be easily taken in stride by someone else. Additionally, not everyone experiences the same side effects from chronic stress. However, there are some steps we can take to minimize the impact stress has on our lives.
Mental health can go a long way in helping you manage stress. Some examples include meditation, deep breathing exercises, visualization techniques, yoga, and much more. Exercise can also have a positive impact on both stress levels as well as mental wellbeing.
Prioritizing your well-being is another factor in stress management. Try to get enough sleep and eat a healthy, balanced diet. This gives your body the rest and fuel it needs to handle stressful situations more effectively. Lack of sleep and improper nutrition put stress on your body, which means when life throws more stressful situations at you, the pressure compounds and is much more difficult to handle.
In addition, there are several herbal ingredients that have been studied for their benefits with alleviating stress. One example is magnolia bark, which has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years, and has been shown in third party research to help with anxiety and stress3. Another ingredient that has been well-studied is theanine, an amino acid found in the leaves of the green tea plant. It has been studied for its effects with relaxation as well as cognitive performance.4
Pharmanex Cortitrol Stress Control Formula contains both of these ingredients, as well as a few others, to help individuals cope with stress. Cortitrol works by modulating healthy levels of cortisol (our primary stress hormone) through a unique blend of ingredients shown to promote normal stress response. Additionally, there is a published double-blind, placebo-controlled study on Cortitrol looking at its effects on physiological stress from exercise.5 Cortitrol is formulated to help you experience better mental concentration and focus, support your weight maintenance efforts, and enhance feelings of well-being and control in response to stressful situations.
While we can’t avoid every source of stress in life, we can try to equip ourselves with the tools we need to handle that stress as effectively as possible.
Technical Communication & Education Manager
3 Kuribara H, Kishi E, Hattori N, Okada M, Maruyama Y. The anxiolytic effect of two oriental herbal drugs in Japan attributed to honokiol from magnolia bark. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2000 Nov;52(11):1425-9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11186252
4 Yoto A, Motoki M, Murao S, Yokogoshi H. Effects of L-theanine or caffeine intake on changes in blood pressure under physical and psychological stresses. J Physiol Anthropol. 2012 Oct 29;31:28. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23107346
5 Kraemer WJ, French DN, Spiering BA, Volek JS, Sharman MJ, Ratamess NA, Judelson DA, Silvestre R, Watson G, Gómez A, Maresh CM. Cortitrol supplementation reduces serum cortisol responses to physical stress. Metabolism. 2005 May;54(5):657-68. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15877297