Dis-stressed to de-stressed in 8 steps

 
Stress is a huge factor in our modern busy lives today.  9 out of 10 Australian report being stressed and 41% feel they experience unhealthy levels of stress. 
 

Stress and our response to it can affect people in different ways.  It can make you worried, anxious, depressed, irritable, exhausted, overloaded or forgetful and affect your ability to cope.  Ongoing stress that does not resolve becomes chronic stress, which can impact the cardiovascular system by contributing to high blood pressure, or affect the nervous system leading to exhaustion, headaches, insomnia or anxiety.  High stress has been shown to lower immune function and decrease the number of good bacteria in the gut with a corresponding increase in detrimental bacteria.  This can lead to dysbiosis and gut issues associated with irritable bowel, as well as more frequent colds and flus. Stress is part of our everyday lives and almost impossible to avoid.  But it can and must be managed.  The ability to increase your resistance to stress is something that can be learned.  The following 8 tips as well as some key nutrients will support your body’s stress response and increase this resistance.

 

  1. Move your body.  Take a brisk 5 minute walk every hour of your work day.  At night, unwind with a 10 minute dance party in your lounge.  Exercise is the body’s natural way to break down the stress hormone cortisol.  Daily movement is essential for brain health - it increases circulation and blood flow to all areas, which increases our energy, and it encourages the release of endorphins.  And it’s also beneficial for sleep.

  2. Engage in nature.  Sunshine gives us energy.  Apart from the immune boosting benefits of vitamin D, being outside in fresh air and in nature for 30 minutes per day can help reduce stress hormones.

  3. Cook your own food.  A healthy diet is vital!  If you make it yourself you know what is in it.  Avoid packaged foods and takeaways and eat as much fresh, seasonal, brightly coloured fruit and vegetables as possible.  Wholefoods are the best foods.  Cook from scratch instead of buying prepared foods. 

  4. Eat good fats – fats are important for brain health and mood, particularly omega 3 fats from oily fish, nuts, seeds and avocado. Studies have shown a reduced stress response when the body has sufficient levels of the omega 3 fats, EPA and DHA.

  5. Invest in a glass waterbottle – or any one (not plastic!) that can track your water intake.  Drink plenty of filtered water during the day.  We can feel tired and have brain fogginess when our body is dehydrated and this makes our response to stress worse.  8 glasses of water a day is recommended.

  6. Practice mindfulness – Think positively.  Rest.  Take time out for yourself doing something you love.  A daily mantra can help you.  Have a massage. Tai chi, yoga and meditation have also been proven to help reduce our response to stress.  So too does listening to music.

  7. Breathe deeply.  Breathe in for the count of 6 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, breathe out for 6 seconds and hold for 4.  Repeat this sequence for 5 minutes. This will bring about a sense of calm and can help reduce heart rate.

  8. Avoid the ‘pick-me-ups’ - coffee, caffeine, energy drinks, sugar and alcohol  - these are often used as a crutch when we are stressed, but in the body they contribute to fatigue in the long-term and cause a prolonged stress response.  Rather enjoy calming herbal teas such as lavender, chamomile and lemon balm.

 

Add in some nutrients

Our body needs nourishing when we're stressed as it uses up magnesium, B vitamins and glutamine. These nutrients are important for energy production. Magnesium is effective in relaxing our muscles, calming the nervous system and is important for sleep.  Herbs are also very effective with both short term and long term stress.  Rhodiola and Withania are adaptogen herbs, which enhance the body’s resilience to stress.  Rhodiola has been shown to reduce both mental and physical fatigue during times of stress.  Withania can reduce the stress hormone cortisol via its effect on the adrenal glands, so useful during chronic stress.  Passionflower, Zizyphus and Magnolia are effective in reducing anxiety and nervous tension

 

If you are dealing with stress, speak to us about the best nutrients and herbals required for you and your body.  Herbals can be individually formulated by us to ensure you receive the correct dose and formula for your condition.

© 2017 by Subiaco Wellness Clinic.

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