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Manage Your Stress

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Learn how to reclaim your emotions and your life

Everyone experiences stress and anxiety at different times in our lives. Our lives have without preamble been turned upside down. We could never have predicted the current situation that has become our ‘new normal”. Our stress levels are at an all time high! While some folks seem to have various methods of coping, others encounter varying degrees of difficulty in managing their stress levels.

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Stress is often the result of mental or emotional pressures. You feel overwhelmed with life. The disconnect begins with a real or perceived demand placed on your brain or your physical body. The stress is compounded when multiple competing stressors are placed on us. Presently we are faced with many unpleasant stimuli and this may cause us to feel incapable of holding the reigns.

We try valiantly to hang on but may become unable to and just let go, retreating into ourselves.

A funny image of a man unable to keep a hold of the reigns to his horse.

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Stress can present in one of two ways:

  • Acute stress

or

  • Chronic stress

Acute stress:

Acute stress has its origins in the fight-or-flight response. It is the body’s signal of imminent danger that alerts us to the presence of a threat and prepares us to fight or to take flight. It is part of our built-in protective mechanism.

Chronic stress:

This type is more insidious, the stressor remains for longer periods of time, and will generally affect your health and your everyday lives. This ongoing stress produces symptoms, such as, shortness of breath, headaches and insomnia, etc. These chronic-stress responses are sneaky and subtle than those of the acute-stress response, but their effects are longer lasting and way more problematic.

Stress may also be triggered by sudden emotional changes, i.e., a loss or a change in your living situation, our health and our world, e.g., COVID-19.

A funny and utilitarian sign that states: Stress Relief at the next exit.

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Some ways to manage are:

  • Get enough rest
  • Take deep breaths
  • Use guided imagery
  • Recognize factors that trigger your stress
  • Keep a diary, things seem much less threatening when you see it in writing
  • Try progressive relaxation
  • Laugh
  • Music / dance
  • Get a massage
  • Meditate
  • Get physical e.g., yoga, exercise
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Limit caffeine & alcohol
  • Avoid illicit drugs, they may make stress and anxiety worse
  • Get moving, change your scenery e.g., take a walk
  • Try medication therapy
  • Develop some hobbies

Deep breathing − Breathe in slowly through your nose. Hold your breath for about 3 seconds. Exhale slowly out your mouth. Close your eyes, if you can and concentrate on controlling and slowing down your breathing.

Guided imagery − Close your eyes and picture a safe, peaceful scene. Choose some place you love and where you feel safe. Concentrate on the details of the scene and remember how you feel when you are there.

Progressive relaxation − Sit or lie quietly. Start by making a group of muscles tense or tight and then relax them. Tense your muscles for at least 5 seconds and then relax for 30 seconds, and repeat. Then, move to another group.

Laughter − Laughing helps lower stress. Try watching a comedy on television. Tell funny stories. Share jokes, books or laugh with a friend.

Music − If you love music like I do, this is a surefire way to allay feelings of stress and anxiety and help you to relax. If you play an instrument, now is a good time to give it a go.

Massage − We all know the joys and benefits of a good massage, get a back rub from someone you feel safe with just bask in the presence of their companionship.

Meditation − Do a familiar activity that calms you and helps you clear your mind. If a walk or a run helps you to feel calm, do so in a safe space.

Take a 10-second break − You may feel very stressed but not able to leave where you are. If so, close your eyes and breathe deeply for 10 seconds, e.g., on an airplane.

Yoga or other forms of martial arts− These slow and purposeful body movements coupled with deep breathing, serves to take your focus off the stressor and can help you feel better.

Limit/stop caffeine, alcohol and illicit street drugs — these substances can all cause/increase stress and anxiety, so avoid them when and if possible.

Finally medication therapy — talk to your healthcare provider about what medication / therapeutic options are available and may be effective for your particular situation. Together you can initiate therapy that still allows you to remain a productive member of society.

3 red puzzle interconnected pieces labelled laughter, yoga and connections.

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With our lives are turned inside out and our current circumstances are extremely stressful, we hopefully have the support of family and friends. We should seek out resources to that offer assistance as well as use some of the techniques set out above in learning to cope and self de-stress for better mental health.

Reference:

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Lithium — More Than a Mood Stabilizer

A toddler, laughing in a field of red flowers.

A happy and laughing young woman.

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A look at the many uses of this element and how it can improve your life

Happiness is the quest of every person alive.

 I believe we all desire and deserve to be happy. The dream however is an oft-elusive one for many. I have always measured happiness in terms of hills and valleys. Life seems to be a continuous cycle of being down in the valley followed by lapses atop the hills. Be sure to enjoy these lapses as you may soon find yourself free-falling into the abyss of another valley…

We are often blessed with moments of sublime happiness.

Recently I came across an interesting tidbit of information that set me on a path of investigation. Several areas in the state of Texas and the world were found to have Lithium present.

Lithium is a naturally occurring element that resides in the soils and leaches into the drinking water. This “accidental” consumption  provides a plethora of health benefits.

The National Library of Medicine states that Lithium found in the drinking water supply has a positive impact on the mental and physical health of those who benefit from the water supply. The element was found in varying quantities depending on seasons and uptake.

Although Lithium is not considered a micro-nutrient, according to science its loss has a profound effect similar to a deficit of sodium, potassium and magnesium, to name a few.

Lithium — what it is

The element Lithium(Li) was first discovered in 1817 as a naturally occurring metal within the earth’s crust. Noted as the least dense of all the elements, it has been used to treat disorders of mentation since 1949 and lauded for its normothymic effect.

Lithium is used primarily in treating bipolar disorder, manic episodes, suicide and schizophrenia.

A number of studies have shown that elemental Lithium found naturally in the soils and leached into the drinking water supply. Also found in some of the fruits and vegetables we consume. It has been proven to decrease the rates of suicides, depression, rapes and crimes of violence as well as numerous benefits on the physical well-beings such as; Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, muscles, heart, bone and cartilage repair.

Many colorful vegetables that contain lithium
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How is it used?

Lithium taken as Lithium orotate has greater ease of bioavailability and ease of transport across the cell layer by simple diffusion utilizing the sodium channels. Scientists believe that its similarity to sodium and magnesium affect its bio-availability and therapeutic levels. Blood level availability is also dependent upon various enzymes, hormones and vitamins. The management of Lithium in any disease process will need close and constant monitoring to titrate dose for maximum benefit per patient.

How does it benefit us?

Lithium has been known to increase density of the gray matter and increase the size of the amygdala and hippocampus (the emotional brain). It is known to stimulate the production of neural stem cells. Has protective effects against oxidative stress and its consequences. It modulates immune response.

Where can I find it?

A glass of clear drinking water known to contain lithium
Photo by KOBU Agency on Unsplash

 

Lithium is present in the water supply of many countries and in many of the foods we eat. Some of the main sources of Lithium are; cereals, potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage and some mineral waters. It is also present in some spices of nutmeg, coriander seeds, or cumin of course the amount present will depend on the soil in which they are grown.

Lithium is available as an over the counter(OTC) supplement and can also be prescribed by your physician for psychiatric disorders. Be sure to discuss with your primary care provider before  you  begin taking any new supplements or medications!

Contraindications:

Lithium is not the first line drug for persons with:

  1. Significant renal disease
  2. Cardiovascular disease
  3. Severe debilitation
  4. Severe dehydration
  5. On diuretic therapy
  6. Sodium depletion
  7. Pregnancy

The risk of toxicity is too high as the Lithium toxicity is closely related to serum therapeutic lithium levels. The care is best done under the care of a medical provider.

You should not attempt this on your own!


Conclusion:

Lithium appears to be the panacea for diseases of the psyche with added benefits to the physical body. It is water soluble and can be promptly bio-available for uptake by the cells. By its proven record it has the ability to influence the mood, depression and overall mental health of many.

It is naturally occurring in soil and as such is present in the drinking water supply of many. Lithium occurs naturally in many foods, albeit in varying degrees dependent upon its availability and uptake by plant life for use. It is touted as a micro-nutrient although the nomenclature does not reflect that at this time. It has proven to offer a number of health benefits, including some longevity.

Science continues to study the properties of Lithium as a first line of defense in the rising issue of mental and physical decline in the hopes that fortifying food with this element will become a strategy of primary prevention in mood disorders and pre-suicidal syndromes.

How much do I need?

Provisional recommended intakes set at 1000 μg/day for a 70-kg adult (14.3 μg/kg body weight).

References:

  1. https://www.researchgate.net
  2. https://www.psychiatryadvisor.com
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  4. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal
  5. https://www.researchgate.net/journal/1879-1379_Journal_of_Psychiatric_Research

Click here to learn more about stress and how to cope.