Should you take Rx for stress and anxiety? Or are natural remedies and self care techniques safer and more effective?
The BBC has reported some eye-opening research …
(Sally Beck, The Daily Mail) Stress is being called ‘the mental health epidemic of the 21st Century’.
And we all need to know, what are the best ways to avoid it?
Doctors write millions of prescriptions for antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs.
But are these drugs – which are often expensive, addicting, and the cause of serious side effects – really the best way to tackle stress?
In the BBC documentary, ‘Trust Me I’m A Doctor’, Dr. Michael Mosley conducts a fascinating experiment to discover exactly what we can do, without resorting to medication, to reduce the impact of stress on our minds and bodies.
68 volunteers who felt stressed but had not been diagnosed with a related health problem were split into three groups.
Over eight weeks, they tested three stress-busting techniques: yoga, mindfulness and, perhaps surprisingly, gardening.
Dr Mosley explains, ‘There’s growing evidence that contact with nature has a positive effect on our mood.
‘Studies suggest yoga can help with stress by lowering the heart rate and blood pressure.
‘And there is also research to suggest mindfulness, a form of meditation that focuses the mind on the present, helps you avoid being caught in a cycle of negative thoughts which cause stress.’
They compared all three to a control group who went about daily life as usual.
At the beginning and end of the study, the volunteers filled in psychological questionnaires and gave saliva samples to measure their levels of the hormone cortisol, which plays a key part in the body’s stress response.
Of the three therapies, mindfulness had the greatest impact on balancing cortisol levels, followed by gardening. Yoga had a modest effect. [Other studies strongly support the stress-busting, health-boosting benefits of yoga.]
Also of interest: 5 Self-Care Rituals That Are Totally Worthwhile