Everyone has experienced feeling stressed from time to time. Stress can have a positive effect on the body, but unfortunately it is more likely to be negative. For example, the added pressure of a last-minute work assignment can be a helpful tool capable of boosting energy and attention. However, when the demands of a situation or event too is much to manage, the stress can be over whelming and negatively affect your well-being.
Chronic stress can lead to many health problems including cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disorders, sleep issues, anxiety, and depression. It can also aggravate existing medical conditions. If you think that stress might be affecting your health, you are not alone. According to The American Institute of Stress:
- 33 percent of people report feeling extreme stress
- 77 percent of people experience stress that affects their physical health
- 73 percent of people have stress that impacts their mental health
- 48 percent of people have trouble sleeping because of stress
This is the first article in our Key Elements of Wellness series.
CBD and the Stress Response
In a survey on reasons why people take hemp derived cannabinoids such as CBD, reducing stress and anxiety topped the list! CBD and other cannabinoids help to manage stress by assisting the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) to bring the body back into balance. Even if we did not take CBD, the ECS actually helps regulate responses to stress by producing endocannabinoids (self-produced within the body) such as Anandamide.
It’s no coincidence that this molecule, Anandamide, was derived from the Sanskrit word Ananda which means “happiness, pleasure, joy, and delight.” In a perfect world the ESC would come to the rescue and wash away stress. Unfortunately, it too can be overwhelmed and need a little help. Supplementing with CBD can assist the body’s stress relieving mechanism by increasing overall amounts of anandamide or by decreasing its breakdown.
Other Ways to Reduce Stress
In addition to supplementing with CBD, there are many other ways to reduce stress and anxiety. In past blogs, we discussed how yoga and breathing techniques can be used to relieve stress. Another popular method to reduce stress is meditation.
The constant exposure to stressors can also send the body’s response into overdrive, not allowing the body to recover. Meditation helps to reduce stress by triggering the body’s relaxation response. It restores the body to a calm state, helping the body repair itself from the physical effects of stress. With regular practice, you can change your response to stress that allow you to recover from stressful situations more easily and experience less stress daily.
In addition to reducing stress and anxiety meditation has numerous other health benefits. It has been shown to improve sleep, manage pain, reduce blood pressure, and fight age-related memory loss. There are countless programs, books, apps, and websites can teach you the basics.
Muse Smart Headband
Unfortunately, if you are like me, my first experience attending a meditation class was a complete disaster. Not matter how much I tried; I was only able to sit for about a minute before I my skin started to crawl. I thought I was a meditation failure. That was until I was introduced to Muse. Muse is an electronic headband that senses the electrical rhythms of the brain (EEG).
The headband is coupled with a smartphone app (free or paid version) that monitors the user’s brain electrical activity and gives immediate feedback. If your mind begins to wander, it gives you gentle audio cues to bring your focus back to the present. The platform is simple and easy to use, you’ll look forward to using it every day. I now use it for up to twenty minutes!
I purchased the Muse 2 many years ago before they came out with a fancier version like the Muse S. Although not necessary, both products can be bundled with a premium subscription for added features. Either way, you will enjoy some down time with your muse headband!
And, of course, contact our resident expert if you have any questions!