Stress is an expected human response to challenging or dangerous situations – our flight or fight response. A small amount of stress occurring every now and then can actually be helpful. It can lead to increased alertness and productivity. The opposite is true too – lack of stress can lead to lack of motivation and reduced performance. So we need a balance in order to be healthy. However, the bigger problem that we are seeing in clinic (and in life) is chronic stress. Unfortunately it is becoming the norm for many people living in our fast paced world, and this is where problems can occur – physically and/or mentally.
So what’s so special about chronic stress? It can actually shut down our body’s ability to heal. In the stress state our bodies create cortisol and adrenaline hormones in preparation for flight or fight. Which is fine in short bursts every now and then. But when this happens several times a day most/every day (chronic) our bodies are pumping out these these hormones over and over again our bodies essentially shuts off our immune system in order to cope with this barrage of danger it’s perceiving. So how can our body defend or heal itself if the immune system isn’t working? It can’t. And so illness and disease develop.
“Stop Stressing!” Easier said than done right? Well start with small steps…
Diet is the often the easiest thing to change and will have a huge impact on your health.
- Eat fresh in season foods – lots of veggies!
- Stop buying processed foods and start cooking at home.
- Packing your lunch for work/school – don’t rely on the local takeaway.
Be nice to yourself.
- Lose the negative self talk – your thoughts do become your reality. If you think your can’t do it then you won’t. If you think you might be able to do it then you will. Check out any of Louise Hay’s books for inspiring affirmations that you can learn to use throughout the day.
- Treat yourself to a massage (or whatever takes your fancy) once a fortnight instead of a $2 chocolate bar and $5 coffee every day – $7 x 10 = $70! Well on your way to a relaxing time. Book it in advance and you have something to look forward to.
- Choose happiness. Studies show that people who are optimistic are happier and live longer than pessimistic people – even when the pessimists view of life is more accurate.
- Get up and move throughout the day. 1 hour gym session may help a bit but move through the day. Our bodies aren’t built to sit for 8-10hrs a day. Think of a toddler – they’ve just learnt to walk and they’re so excited you can’t keep them still! That’s what we need to be doing as adults as much as possible.
- Exercise, in any of it’s forms, has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety. Join a team or club, walk the dog/kids/husband/wife/friend…
If you have any questions or would like to check out our programs for stress management, please give us a call or check out our website.