Stress will shorten your lifespan, make you fat (specifically around the belly button) and drastically take away from your time here on this planet, but what is it and what can we do about it?
There are two types of stress that we experience, acute and chronic. Acute stress is the response we have to immediate danger like fighting or being chased by a wild animal. Blood pressure and heart rate go through the roof and you can physically feel the change in your body.
When this happens all of the essential processes in the body are turned on while the non-essential are turned off. Growth, reproduction and detoxification to name a few are put on the backburner in order to win the fight or get away from the lion on your tail! Once you win or escape your body reduces your heart rate back to normal, blood pressure begins to decrease and your hormones return to normal. Then it’s back to growth, reproduction processes, detoxification…you get the picture!
The unfortunate part is that we humans tend to continue this stress response with our minds by fixating on problems, worry, insecurity, and reaction and because of this our stress becomes chronic rather than acute! Chronic stress can last for months or even years when it’s only meant to last for seconds, minutes or at the most, several hours!
Here are 6 things you can do to minimize chronic stress in your life:
Working out boosts the immune system, antioxidant system, elevates our natural anti-stress system, increases mood, boosts energy, builds muscle and burns fat! Take some of that aggression out on the weights, they can take it!
Yoga will help minimize the sensations of stress and elevate glutathione, the most potent antioxidant in the body!
Meditating is an amazing way to rid the body and mind of stress or at the very least reduce it. Slow, deep, controlled breaths have a calming effect and work wonders for decreasing stress levels in everyday life!
Many of us are sensitive to foods that we consume everyday! Some common allergens are grains, legumes and dairy to name a few. Take notice of how your body responds when you eat certain foods and eliminate ones that effect you in a negative way such as bloating, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, sluggishness, joint inflammation, headaches and reduced energy levels! Food sensitivities tax your body tremendously!
Booze is a huge stressor and it drastically impairs the immune system! Alcohol radically increases cortisol (stress hormone) in the body, which then increases fat storage around the belly button (i.e. beer belly)! A few drinks here and there aren’t going to do much damage but know that any more than that will negatively effect the way your body handles stress!
Watch a funny sitcom (My recommendation is Modern Family) or YouTube a comedy clip each day to get a good laugh in! Laughing actually reduces stress, boosts immune function as well as that potent antioxidant glutathione! Genuine laughter has been shown to make people more resistant to stress as well as disease so laugh it up!
There are lots stressors in life that we cannot control however we can decide what to do about them. If you have more stress than usual at any given time make sure to fit in time for your workout, yoga session and/or meditation. Avoid alcohol knowing that it will only make your situation worse and opt instead for some healthy food that will increase your ability to deal with whatever life throws at you!