Our bodies are engineered to manage short-lived stress. Moderate stress for short periods can actually be a good thing! After all, thanks to our instinctual speedy response to stress, humans have survived all sorts of perilous situations. Today, however, we’ve created an environment where we live in unmanageable levels of stress that our bodies don’t know how to handle.
Research shows that chronic stress can affect our bodies in several ways:
- Damage immunity
- Significantly increase waist circumference
- Raise insulin levels, driving relentless metabolic dysfunction that triggers weight gain, insulin resistance and can lead diabetes
- Wreak havoc in your adrenal glands that start flooding your system with adrenaline and cortisol, thus increasing your blood pressure and belly fat storage
Here are 6 things you can start doing today to significantly reduce your stress:
1. Exercise as Often as You Can
Interval training is the best natural and proven anti-stress method. You’ll burn off stress chemicals while releasing happy hormones, such as endorphins. Exercise is also the best anti-depressant.
2. Perceived Stress
Stress can be a very real reaction to a situation, in which case we must do whatever it takes to survive. However, oftentimes stress is a perception we create from the meaning we give to a threat, an event, or an exchange. For example, you may perceive that a friend or colleague is angry with you following a heated discussion, and you may dwell in that feeling which can create elevated levels of stress. Whether that perception is accurate or not, the biological answer to this stressor in your body is the same. What we don’t realize is that we have the power to chose the way we think and respond to our external environment. We can decide to let go of the perceived emotion and feel better, instead of clinging to the emotional baggage.
3. Eat Clean Food and Reduce Stimulants
Eating whole, organic food allows your body to handle stress better by restoring hormonal and blood sugar balance and reducing negative stress impact on your body. Limiting caffeine, alcohol and packaged foods also allows your body to cope better and faster with stress.
4. Get the Right Stress Fighting Vitamins
Deficiencies in Vitamins B5, B12, magnesium and C play a significant role in fighting stress. As they are not stored in our body, we must get them daily through foods such as beans, avocado, big leafy greens and other veggies, kiwi, papaya, and bell peppers. You can also get them through a right supplementation of multivitamins.
5. Learn to Breath
Breathing is life! It is the first thing new born babies do to start their out of womb journey. Yet, most of us stop breathing normally when we are anxious or stressed. Learning to breath deeply and calmly when tension arises is key to relaxing our nerves. Booking a massage, a spa or an acupuncture treatment are other efficient ways to reduce stress on our mind and body.
6. Don’t Forget to Sleep
Restorative sleep is so important in coping with the multiple damages created by chronic stress. Making sleep a priority can greatly help limit stress. Create a stress reducing evening ritual, such as a relaxing warm bath with essential oils, to help decompress and promote healthy sleep.
Want more? Book a consultation with AKT Nutritive and Wellness Coach, Safia Morsly-Fikai!