In the world we live in its common place to be subject to stress – whether pshycological, or physical it all compounds as stress on the body in one way or another. The key is learning to manage it effectivly and get the right amount.
Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one. – Hans Seyle
Stress is not always a bad thing and quite simply something that triggers an internal reaction and response in the body, namely triggering our HPA axis (hypothalamus-pitutary-adrenal) and produces stress hormones.
When we have too much stress these hormones pump out and trigger our fight or flight response – supressing appetite, causing anxiety, inhibiting digestion and repair of the body. This is fine in the short term and our body can handle this for short and brief periods. The problem comes when we get stuck in a state of chronic stress and it beomes the default state. With prolonged exposure to stress our bodies ability to produce stress hormones starts to shut down – this leads to a host of problems.
Whether it is working long hours in a job you don’t like, over-exercising, undereating or a combination. The stress compounds and wears the body out. Making even the most simple of tasks seem a chore and life become a struggle.
The key is to stop pushing the body so hard, give it a break! Listen to the body rather than forcing it into exercise and enforcing a certain diet. Over the past few years with first hand experience with ‘Adrenal Fatigue’ or quite simply over running the body I have figured out how to best deal with it….
Drop Caffeine - Caffeine is problematic for two reasons, firstly it triggers a pretty potent stress response in the body and secondly it does funny things to blood sugar. Stopping large amounts of coffee and tea intake is sometimes the first and most important step to overcoming burnout.
Manage your Blood Sugar - this doesnt mean going on a fancy diet with balanced meals, it is more important to get your body used to a wide variety of foods and more importantly to eating large amounts of food. Only once your body can handle and regulate insulin will healing start to happen. One of the keys is to stay out of a calorie deficit eat plenty of good real food as described here….
Eat Real Food - Your adrenal glands which need nourishment rely on trace minerals and vitamins for optimum health. I am not a big fan of synthetic vitamins and minerals therefore always recommend people a wide variety of fresh fruit and vegetables (especially those rich in vitamin C) and a good intake of blackstrap molasses to re-mineralise the body.
Avoid Chemicals - Many of us bombard our bodies with soaps, shampoo, toothpaste and cleaning products that are filled with chemicals. It is important not to forget that the skin is our largest organ and takes in a lot of this stuff. Cut out as much as you can and go natural with your cleaning and grooming products your body will thank you!
Don’t Push Too Hard - While we shouldnt be scared to do stuff and get on with life our bodies are very smart. Listening to them is the key – if you feel like salty or sweet food go for it. Don’t do physical stuff when all you feel like doing is sitting around. These simple things make a huge difference over time. And with time you will learn to get in-touch with what your body wants.
Write Lists - Making lists and writing down all the stressful things in your life can be a great way to get things off your mind and relieve tension. Simply making notes of what is stressing you out in your life accomplishes this, be sure to include everything!
Stress on the body comes from every angle and in small acute doses this is a good thing. Be careful though of letting stress become chronic and consistent in your life – this is when problems occur. Taking preventative measures are always good – sort of like a buffer so keep practicing these things even when you are feeling good.
Hopefully this sheds some light and simplifies stress for you. Integrating these small changes can make a world of difference and help you manage stress!