Being Resilient to Stress - Turmeric and High Performance
What is resilience? Resilience is the ability to sustain diverse forms of adversity. For most of us, coping with life's daily stresses is just a part of our daily routine. But for a small number of people who have an extremely strong immune system, resilience allows them to go beyond and actually recover from extremely damaging physical and mental stressors. What is resilience? It is the ability to handle stressors that would normally damage or destroy you.
We all know about the power of positive thinking, and this is true for resilience as well. The more you think positive and less negative, the better your response to stress will be. For those of you who are already more resilient, getting regular exercise is an excellent way to manage stress. A simple 20 minute walk after work is all you need to do. If you enjoy it, you will find it is very effective in reducing both your physical and emotional reactions to life's daily problems. Getting regular physical exercise is also important for improving mood and general well being.
Passionflower and turmeric are two herbs that I like to use when I am trying to manage stress. Turmeric and passionflower have been shown to improve mood, lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety, help with depression, and help with arthritis. Turmeric has been used traditionally in India as an anti-inflammatory and antibiotic. The active turmeric compound curcumin is what gives turmeric its strength. When I'm looking for a way to reduce my reaction to a stressful event, I take a cup of passionflower and a glass of turmeric tea.
Another way to assess the effects of stress on your body is to use a subjective evaluation. A subjective evaluation is a way to assess your level of "resilience." People can take a one-hour questionnaire online to gauge their "stress resilience." The survey is anonymous, easy to complete, and very short. This particular type of questionnaire is excellent because it lets you see what you are really capable of. Many people do not realize their full capabilities in terms of resiliency; only when they look at their scores do they realize how much resilience they actually possess.
Acute stressors are events or situations that are so emotionally distressing that they immediately overwhelm the ability to cope with them. For example, if a person is about to give a speech to a group, and the audience starts to get angry, that person may find that he is unable to cope with the stress, and he begins to cry. In this case, the individual's subjective evaluation would say that he is unable to handle the stress, and he begins to cry. In this case, the individual would be classified as having "acute stressors." He may have learned some skills to deal with the acute stressor, but he is not necessarily "more resilient" than someone who has not.
The third category is "chronic stressors." This is a situation in which an individual experiences an acute stressor, and then another event triggers chronic stress that is worse than the first one. For example, if a person is working in a job where they are constantly belittled, they will be at high risk for "chronic stress." Chronic stress can lead to a variety of health problems. If this happens, the person will need to work on his resilience to chronic stress by repairing his stress systems. A good way to repair a stress system is through the process of hormesis.
One study was done where a group of individuals were randomly assigned to take a blueberry supplement (which contains an abundance of antioxidants), or a placebo. After a week, the group that took the antioxidant saw significant benefits in reducing the number of headaches they received each day. The same effect was seen in individuals who took a placebo. This is definitely promising news for those who are looking to make their daily lives less stressful.
All in all, the antioxidant turmeric can be a great addition to your diet and can help with improving your overall stress level. It is high in antioxidants which can help with "starving" the stress hormones out of your body, as well as helping with "repairing" the damage caused by the oxidative stress in your body. This also helps us have a more "resistant" outlook towards the world around us, making us better equipped to handle it when we do come across it. Overall, a healthy diet, low in oxidative stress, and plenty of antioxidant supplementation can keep you well-hydrated and on top of your game no matter what kind of "stress" you are currently experiencing.