Stress is making us sick, fat, and unhappy. Research shows that prolonged stress leads to depression, anxiety, hypertension, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, obesity, chronic toxicity, and brain stroke. It’s time to claim back our health!
5 ways to de-stress while managing a busy life...
Eating wholefoods (vegetables, plant-based fats, organic meat, legumes, whole grains, water) will provide your body with the necessary enzymes to digest well and support optimal body function. Essential nutrients, which come from wholefoods, support adrenal function and incite the appropriate stress response. Interestingly, research shows that those who eat processed and refined foods have poor cognition and are more prone to depression, which can often elicit stress. Reducing caffeine is also a great step towards reducing stress.
Our energy reserves are restored through enough quality sleep. On top of which, our mental health, cognition, and weight management all improve with quality sleep as well. Research shows that quality sleep is the pathway to a calm and tranquil mind, which is the antagonist of stress. For better sleep I recommend going to sleep eight hours before your alarm clock hollers. If you struggle to fall asleep, get creative, and design your own sleep ritual. Read how to do this here.
More and more research is revealing that the things we speak over ourselves influence how we experience a situation. If you have a tonne of work on and tell yourself that you are “exhausted, stressed, and overwhelmed,” your body will behave just like that - exhausted, stressed, and overwhelmed. On the other hand, if you tell yourself, “this will pass, it is not crucial, I will be ok,” you will have taken control over your perception of the situation, and will experience less stress.
Some of us exercise to sweat, bleed, and hurt. For some people, this kind of exercise actually puts the body into a state of stress, which either exaggerates our already perceived levels of stress, or leads to weight gain. Don’t get me wrong; regular exercise is great for our health. It is important for the body to have movement, speed, and strong muscles, but these goals should be achieved in a way that makes you feel happy and better than you did beforehand. For some of us that might mean walking or yoga, for others it may mean hitting the gym. Find out what you enjoy most, and commit to doing it regularly.
Breathing from your diaphragm – as in, expanding your diaphragm slowly as you breathe in and contracting it slowly as you exhale – communicates to your autonomic nervous system that you are safe, which has a calming effect on your body. Contrast that with short, shallow breaths, which tell your body and mind that you are in danger, leading to increased stress and anxiety.
Feed, Nourish, Value Yourself.