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What is stress?

I don’t need to tell you what stress is in terms of how it makes you feel. I’m sure you are too familiar with it. But what is stress, why does it occur? To put it simply, stress is your body’s reaction to any sort of perceived threat. Perceived meaning it could be a very real threat or it could be something you are imagining. Either way, when you feel threatened or sense danger, the automatic defense system in your body jumps into action – literally – and the process known as your “fight or flight” response occurs. During this stress response, a chemical reaction occurs in your body and adrenaline, dopamine, and cortisol are released – you start breathing faster, your heart rate increases, your muscles tighten and your blood pressure begins to rise.

The situations that provoke this response are known as stressors, and while we generally think of stressors as being negative, (work is piling up, a family member is sick, etc), anything that places a high demand on your time and/or attention can be stressful, including positive events like moving, getting a new job – even exercise, something often seen as a stress-reliever is itself a stressor on your body as well.

Stress can be helpful.

The stress response is your body trying to protect you from something deemed harmful.  Stress can also help you stay alert, focused on the task at hand, perform better under pressure, rise to meet challenges, motivate you to do your best, and even give you energy. In an emergency, it can even save your life.

But your body can only handle so much stress, good or bad, and beyond that point, stress stops being helpful and can cause major issues in nearly every system in your body, negatively affecting your health, mood, and overall well-being.

Stress is mostly harmful.

Stress looks and feel different on every body!

So, the stress reaction helps us get the job done – at work or when we are in actual danger –

but stress becomes a problem when it is constantly working in overdrive, sending out the stress response over non-threatening issues and disrupting your health and quality of life.

I’m talking serious health problems! Chronic stress can leave you with a greater vulnerability to illness as it suppresses your immune system. It can increase the risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke. It can cause muscle pain, digestive issues, skin conditions, and weight gain. Stress even effects with your brain, leading to clouded thinking and memory problems, potentially causing anxiety, depression, insomnia. Creativity, productivity, and motivation suffers too when you are chronically stressed. Not to mention the bad behaviors that stress often causes you to do, like drinking alcohol, smoking, biting your nails, making unhealthy food choices, sleepless nights, mood swings, etc.

Stress Management through healthy habits.

Listen! You deserve better than to be in this constant state of worry and stress. When you’re stuck functioning in fight-or-flight mode, your mind and body suffers… tremendously! You can take action to protect yourself from these negative consequences of stress and re-balance your nervous system in two ways:

  • reduce your stressors as much as possible
  • and increase your ability to deal with stress through healthy habits.

By reducing your stressors I mean try to avoid the things that stress you out in the first place. Things like limiting interactions with emotionally draining friends or coworkers, saying “no” to things you don’t really want to do, or walking away from conflicts that don’t serve you or anyone else. 

These things aren’t always possible, however, so my other strategy is to start incorporating healthy habits and self-care practices into your daily routine to increase your ability to deal with the everyday stress of life. You can try to get more, better quality sleep, focus on eating a healthy diet while reducing caffeine and sugar, exercise regularly, do physical activities you really enjoy, dedicate time in your workouts to do some stress-relieving stretches. You can also go outside, get some fresh air! It really does help!

Learn and practice relaxation techniques; Try Deep Breathing – sit still and comfortably, breathe in slowly through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Take ten breaths first thing in the morning and right before bed. Try meditation or yoga for stress management,too. Last but not least, practice being flexible with your expectations of yourself. Take a break if needed. And here’s the one most people struggle with, it is okay to ask for help.

Supplementing self-care with CBD oil

If your self-care practices, lifestyle changes, and relaxation techniques aren’t doing enough to reduce your stress, you may want to look into CBD oil supplements for stress relief.

Several studies have shown that CBD oil is an effective choice for a whole spectrum of health concerns, like chronic pain, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease as well as depression, anxiety, and- you guessed it – stress. 

What is CBD Oil?

CBD is an oil that comes from the cannabis plant and is considered a cannabinoid. It is actually just one of over 100 different types of cannabinoids found within the leaves and flowers of the plant. Many people are hesitant to supplement with CBD because they associate it with marijuana, but CBD is 100% non-psychoactive, as opposed to THC- the cannabinoid found in marijuana that gives you the high-feeling. CBD products are becoming more accepted and are most definitely growing in popularity.

It is important to note here that although research studies have exhibited a wide variety of benefits for using CBD oil, it is still not legally recognized by the FDA as a pharmaceutical or dietary supplement. Also, since it is not highly regulated, it can be difficult to determine the correct dosage of CBD oil. Be sure to follow the directions listed on your product.

My results from using CBD for stress-relief.

Before I share how it helped me, let me tell you something because I knew CBD was effective back in July.

*Disclaimer* It’s very hard to get my grandmother to try anything new. But back in July she was experiencing very bad abdominal pain. My mom sent me a text that said look online and order ‘momma’ some CBD cream for her pain. I did. When it was delivered, I had to explain she wouldn’t get high LOL but it might relieve the pain. AND IT DID! She said she felt the pain “let up”… ALMOST IMMEDIATELY!

Then in August my boyfriend had a very bad pain in his neck. When we went to Virginia my granny, she said “Reggie try to put some of the stuff Moni bought me on your neck.” Again, it worked! He said shortly after rubbing it on, “it feels better already!”

Now how has it helped me…

I’ve been using CBD for 2 weeks myself with the intention of managing and relieving stress. I have noticed a positive change in the quality of my sleep and how I feel when I wake up in the morning. I’m able to focus throughout the day and my energy levels stay consistent, without that dreaded afternoon slump. I’m a lot less frustrated when stuck in the daily Raleigh-Durham traffic. I’ve also found that I’m not anxious or nervous before meetings, which has increased my attentiveness.

Beyond stress relief, I also lost 4.5 lbs in the first 5 days, my tummy is noticeably flatter, and my skin has cleared up. I happened to be on my period during this time, and noticed that my cycle was much less painful and that I had only a bit of pressure on the first day but no cramps overall. 

Is CBD Oil right for you?

Stress can be absolutely crippling for many people on a daily basis. I always say if we don’t manage our stress it will start to manage us. No matter how you personally decide to reduce your stress levels, just decide, today, and don’t let it take over your life or ruin your health.

If you’re interested in giving CBD a try, or if you’ve tried herbal supplements in the past with little to no relief, it could be time to give CBD a chance!