Stress is related to 99% of all illnesses. “In addition to the trademark tight shoulders, irritability and clenched jaw, day-in and day-out stress wreaks havoc on our eating habits, wears down our immune systems, leading to colds and disease, and even turns hormones and nerve chemicals topsy-turvy, contributing to weight gain, memory loss and depression” – Food & Mood by Elizabeth Somers.
How does this all happen in your body when you are stressed?
When you are anxious or stressed, the body produces adrenalin (your fight or flight hormone) which stresses the adrenal glands and compromises the liver & brain. Cortisol (the yucky stress & fat storage hormone that encourages the body to accumulate fat, especially around the middle) is also released – which causes a drop in serotonin (the happy chemical) in the brain.
This leads to depression, irritability, heightened insulin levels, & around-the-clock craving for sweets and fatty foods. Chronic stress also unleashes a barrage of free radicals that damage your body & brain cells – killing brain cells by the millions. You literally “stew” in your own soup of hormones.
What can you do to daily De-Stress?
Write down 3 things right now that make YOU feel peaceful – and do them at least 10 minutes per day or whenever you feel stressed. Practice letting adrenalin and cortisol subside – not grow in your body – it will help your health immensely!
Here are 5 of my favorite ways to de-stress:
1. Be a Corpse. Lie down on the floor. The “corpse” pose is one of the BEST ways to de-stress the body and mind. (If you want a laugh and are brave, lie down beneath your cubicle at work – who knows, you might encourage someone else to de-stress.) By lying on the ground – your body can actually “let go” and release physical tension – which allows stress to literally melt out of your body. When the body relaxes, the mind follows.
2. Let Oxygen Help. This is actually my favorite form of meditation – breathing for 10-15 min in the morning. However, you can do for just 1-2 minutes when you’re stressed…simply close your eyes and BREATHE – in and out…it’s so simple and it so works.
Oxygen helps the whole body de-stress and slows down/halts the production of adrenalin and cortisol – also why exercise works so well. You can’t always go for a jog when stressed, but you can take deep breaths anywhere, anytime :-) Close your eyes and breathe and let your whole body relax. Visualize the adrenaline and cortisol fading away….
3. Connect to Good Energy. Sit outside in nature, touch a tree or a flower, look at something beautiful on your desk at work. Connecting with nature or beauty gives you energy when you most need it. Hugging a pet or someone you love does the same thing.
4. Take a Break. Listen to soothing or happy music or read a book/magazine for 10 minutes. Take a BREAK for your body and mind – transport your body to a peaceful place for 10 min and allow the hormones to subside. Get a cup of tea and just relax for 10 min.
5. Stop and THINK/FEEL. Ask yourself good questions. “Why do I feel stressed”? (Close your eyes and breathe for 1 min before doing this – it helps the whole process). Is it really that bad and what can I do about it right now to make me feel better NOW. What’s the worst thing that can happen and is it really that bad? Have I felt this way before and did it work out in the end? How could I feel good about the situation? Can I choose different thoughts?
If it is something you HAVE to do, realize that you have a choice to be relaxed while you do it (and happy), or stressed and contributing to bad health (which is probably worse than whatever you are stressed out about.
Eat & Drink to support balance in the body and brain. Drink lots of water and make sure that you’re eating 5 small meals/snacks per day that are low glycemic. Keeping your blood sugar stable throughout the day helps stress immensely. Don’t drink coffee – it only heightens agitation and stress levels, as does sugar and high glycemic foods. Choose calming herbal teas, water with lemon/lime etc.
Be Happy… Be Vibrant…