Managing Stress in this Hectic World:
Let’s face it. Life can be stressful. We can’t always see the stressful events ahead but even the ones that don’t surprise us can make an impact on the body.
What is stress?
- Stress – a state of mental, emotional, chemical or physical strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.
It isn’t always negative. Learning a challenging skill, exercising and really, any kind of growth, takes a level of stress. It can become an issue though if we have no break from the stress or the stress is severe (big stressful events).
What happens to the body when we are stressed?
Systemic inflammation – This is when the body detects something that requires it to activate the immune system. It also releases certain inflammatory hormones like cortisol. Studies show that chronic inflammation is very damaging to the organs, joints, muscles. It also can contribute to insulin resistance which makes it very difficult to lose weight.
Adrenal Fatigue – Our adrenal glands are very small sacs located above the kidneys. They hold hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. When we are under chronic stress these organs get fatigued. Adrenal fatigue can give us low energy, poor concentration/memory, depression, anxiety and more.
Obesity – As mentioned above, stress hormones are detrimental for weight loss and muscle growth. They actually encourage saving fat vs burning.
Chronic Disease – With systemic inflammation and hormonal imbalance and the greater chances of obesity also comes the increased chance of cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and many, many more.
As you can read, chronic stress is not good!
5 Things you can do right now to help your stress
- Eat better – Reducing inflammation will happen when we decrease sugar, refined carbohydrates, preservatives, flavor enhancers.
- Move more – Exercise 3-5 times a week. Start mild to moderate if you are not doing any now and work your way up. Exercise burns through stress hormones. Just don’t do too much or the reverse happens!
- Sleep more – Most people in the world do not get the recommended 6-9 hours of sleep. Some of us require closer to the 9 and some 6 but shouldn’t fall below that. Sleep dramatically reduces chronic inflammation.
- Drink more water – Anywhere from 2-4L/ day is a good measurement to stay hydrated. This decreases chronic inflammation.
- Gratitude – Expressing gratitude has been shown to decrease stress and increase a sense of well-being. The good news on this is that it can be done anywhere at anytime!
We hope this helps you understand the what stress can do to you and the things we can do to try and balance it in these sometimes stressful times!
– APC Team