Stress and Our Adaptive Power

Stress and Our Adaptive Power

Likely, you have developed a lifestyle routine to keep you healthy and happy. It may include exercise, massage, meditation and a nutrition regimen, and when followed diligently, it works. But, there are times that it doesn’t work as well. And frankly, there are times when maintaining healthful habits seem impractical.

Wonder why? What happens then? Why are those times tougher than others? Something gets in our way, right?

That obstructive thing is stress. Just say the word, stress. It sounds like a mischievous goblin looking to sabotage everything hard work builds. Think about it. When someone describes an obstacle, typically, stress is the culprit. Call it an invisible sidekick to mayhem. Fortunately, stress isn’t a masked bandit running amuck. And, we can better manage its impact on our lives.

For many of us, the word stress is somewhat ambiguous. Wikipedia explains that, “stress is how the body reacts to a stressor, real or imagined; a stimulus that causes stress.” According to another definition, stress relates to the pressure, pull or other force exerted on one thing by another. The source of the tension is a stressor, and the quantity, quality and duration of the tension helps to categorize it as a specific type of stressor. To better understand stress, we need to take a closer look at some of the primary stressors:

Mental stressors — all mental illness, chronic unresolved issues, major life changes, overburdened with responsibility, self-image issues, and obsessive thinking
Emotional stressors — anger, rage, irritability, worry, anxiety, fear, fright, terror, depression, desire, lust, sadness, grief, and over excitement
Physical stressors — too much strenuous activity such as overwork and too much exercise, trauma, starvation, medical issues, suffocation, alcohol and drug use, lack of sleep, illness, and child-birth.
Environmental stressors — sudden changes in climate or exposure to severe climate conditions, electromagnetic waves (wi-fi networks), excessive exposure to sun, exposure to microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, molds, and parasites), exposure to chemical toxins (pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, heavy metals, households and industrial chemicals); also, nutritional deficiencies such as refined foods, nutrient depleted foods, genetically-modified foods, irradiated foods, trans fats, caffeine and other stimulants.
Spiritual stressors — loss of direction and life purpose. Clearly there are many stressors. And, it is important to minimize our exposure to unnecessary stressors; however, stress and stressors are a natural part of life. Instead, our focus should be on how we process stress. Our bodies metabolize it in two different ways: either as helpful eustress, which is anabolic in nature (meaning it builds us up) or as destructive distress, which is catabolic (meaning it breaks us down). The old saying is true, “what doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger.”

Hans Seyle outlined our stress response in more detail, and earned the nick name “the father of stress research.” In his General Adaptation Syndrome, Seyle delineates a sequence of reactions the body goes through when responding to a given stressor. First, in the alarm stage, we experience an internal alert where the body prepares for action with adrenaline and cortisol. This is commonly known as a fight-flight response. Next if the stressor persists, the body goes into the resistance stage. Here the body reallocates its’ primary force to deal with the stressor. This is the “cope and adapt…or else” stage. If the tension persists, then the body will fall into the exhaustion phase. This is the danger zone. In the exhaustion phase, we are vulnerable to illness and weakness.

Selye’s research proves that the key factor to our body’s survival is its’ ability to adapt. Our ability to adapt depends on our adaptive energy. He coined that phrase, because in situations when our adaptive energy is high, we move through stress unscathed. But when our adaptive energy is low, all things can go wrong and likely do.

The importance of adaptive energy has been a part of ancient wisdom for centuries. Adaptive energy is the same force that mystics and sages realized is the foundation for spiritual growth, as well as physical health and well being. They called it called prana, ki or qi (chi). Because of its’ vital significance, sages of antiquity sought out ways of enhancing chi. Guess where they found help? Yup, good ole mother nature had the solution—a group of rare botanicals that enhances adaptive energy more than anything else. These plants cultivated strong adaptive power, because they grow and thrive in harsh conditions. When consumed, the body absorbs their extra adaptive power.

In Chinese Medicine, these plants are called tonic herbs for their tonifying effects. And, this group of herbs is also found within Ayurveda’s Rasyayan Formulas for spiritual alchemy. As fate would have it, these botanicals were rediscovered in the West in the 1940s when Russian scientists unlocked their secret and named them adaptogens. The Russians used them to help alleviate the distress their Olympic athletes experienced from over-training. Also, they were used as healing aids after the nuclear spill in Chernobyl. Their modern research proves that adaptogens have a unique ability to assist the body to restore homeostasis and lessen the effects of stress on a person, be it physical, emotional, mental or environmental stress.

“Adaptogens help the body regulate itself,” says Harriet Beinfield, a licensed acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist who co-authored, Between Heaven and Earth: A Guide to Chinese Medicine, (Ballantine, 1991) with husband Efrem Korngold, a doctor of Oriental medicine and co-director of a Chinese medical clinic in San Francisco. “One example of the amazing healing properties of adaptogens,” which she points out, “is that a person with low blood sugar will find an adaptogen raises their blood sugar to a normal, balanced level, while the same adaptogen taken by someone with high blood sugar will experience their blood sugar lowered toward normal levels.”

In other words, adaptogens can help the body restore and maintain balance. These herbs are amazing. Some of these wonderful herbs are:

There are a few more herbs that qualify as adaptogens. Since these herbs have such a great impact on our well being, they could be considered like an insurance policy. With their help, it’s easier to make wise choices that support sound health. Most often, adaptogens provide a boost of energy and clear mental calm.

In the book, Adaptogens; Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief, by Winston and Maimes, the many benefits of each adaptogen are explored. The authors share recipes and great tips for adding adaptogens into a daily diet. Single herb preparations are great; yet the authors explain that using a wide array of adaptogens proves to be more powerful. And, because these herbs primarily restore balance in the body, they are safe to take on a regular, long-term basis. Supplementing with adaptogens is the easiest step to take to support our health and wellness, but if you are under the care of a health care provider, consult them before taking any supplements.

With the click of a mouse, its easy to add adaptogens to our diet. There are many choices. Some popular ones are Tonic Alchemy by Ron Teegarden or Pure Synergy by Mitchell May. Yet, one adaptogenic-product stands out, ShenTrition. Its milligram dosage, formula arrangement and taste make it effective and enjoyable. In fact, it is used by many natural physicians in their practices plus it has been mentioned in 3 books for its effects on vitality, balance and longevity: Perfect Eyesight: The Art Of Improving Vision Naturally by R. Lewanski and R. Zuraw; Integrative Endocrinology; The Rhythms of Life, by Dr. Donald R. Beans; and No Age is the New Age; An Action Plan for Agelessness, A Longevity Guide for Men and Women 25 to 125, by Karen Norris and Eve Michaels.

Super charge your health and well being by taking adaptogenic herbs regularly!

Provided by Stephen and Erica Rogers from Shen Life Inc – a spiritual approach to healing and personal development; and creators of ShenTrition. Click here for Shentrition!, a powerful adaptogenic herbal-superfoods supplement.

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