Stress = dropping things, losing your keys, losing your cell phone, forgetting things. Is this you?
This was me for most of 2014 and half of 2015.
Does it have to do with our jobs, our choices? Yes.
Our body has to deal with our choices.
When we choose a life of high-stress, we affect our whole system.
Stress levels that run high increase the levels of the hormone cortisol.
Cortisol is a steroid hormone that gets released in response to stress and low blood glucose.
So when we have to slam on the brakes, or when our boss treats us poorly, or when we are in an argument, or when we spill something hot on ourselves, it gets released. When we are upset about needing our car fixed, or when we are comparing our lives' to other peoples' or we feel bad about something we said or did a month ago.
When our thoughts are negative and stuck in the horror of the past, or worry and anxiety in the future, cortisol gets released.
So when we even think of something stressful, cortisol is released in a very protective way - it means well - it helps to prepare our body for a sudden crisis (which is rarely the case - its usually us thinking about work, a silly fight, spilling something on ourselves, or getting our car fixed that stresses us out.)
It functions to increase blood sugar, to suppress the immune system, and to aid in the metabolism of fat, protein, and carbohydrate.
• Cortisol reduces bone formation (long term chronic stress) • Cortisol and the stress response have known negative effects on the immune system. High levels of perceived stress and increases in cortisol have been found to lengthen wound healing time in healthy, male adults. • Cortisol inhibits sodium loss through the small intestine of mammals • Cortisol stimulates gastric-acid secretion (lessening our digestive systems' abilities) The real danger of stress-triggered cortisol levels over long periods of time are a big concern. Numerous studies have linked elevated cortisol levels with impaired memory function.
Some research also shows elevated cortisol levels in Alzheimers' patients - the more cortisol, the more severe the symptoms of the disease.
As if those aren't reasons enough to realize we NEED to slow down and relax, we have this culture of RUSH (and not the good kind of Rush) where it is glorified to run around being too busy for life.
How can you slow down the Cortisol?
While necessary for survival, we still don't want cortisol surging through our body all day.
We weren't meant for that.
Try the following:
People who sit, do nothing and breathe (meditate) daily can show significant improvements in lowering both their blood pressure as well as cortisol. Try this for help. It helps us learn to focus on being in the moment rather than worry about the past or future, and that relaxes us. Meditation relaxes our nervous system.
Get enough sleep
It's well known that getting less than what your body needs (7-9 hours) increases your cortisol levels the next day. You've stressed out your body! Taking a nap the day after can bring some balance and "catch you up" with your sleep, dropping levels back down. Yay for naps!
Not the commercial kind, but the real kind where you light incense and candles and put on essential oils or watch an old movie and cry because its okay to release and share your emotions. Then go make a green drink or bake something or eat some sprouts and do some yoga. Connecting to your body and your environment automatically relaxes you, releasing the good kind of hormones like serotonin and dopamine so you feel yummy! Find some good tunes too.
Protect your body and brain by limiting intake of fried and processed foods. Eat antioxidant foods such as fruits, vegetables, seeds and fish. Beat stress by keeping your blood sugar even by eating good food regularly in small amounts, and avoiding stimulants and sugar.
Book a massage, take a yoga class, get that pedicure. Time taken to enjoy wasting time, is never wasted time. It's called relaxing! It's an art. You can start re-learning it by treating yourself to things that force you to do nothing for at least an hour.
Listen to Music
Enjoy your favourite album at least once a month for maintenance, weekly for growth! It calms your mind and makes you happy.
Listen to the cause of your triggers where you feel stress. What were you just thinking or talking about? Deal with the root cause of your stress by joining a support group or talking with a counselor or therapist.
I found this blog post really interesting, about how to further master the Art of Relaxation.
Hammocks and childs' play - I like it. Take a peek!
Since I realized that I needed to start taking care of my stress better I have added the above recommendations into my life, it does take time and effort. It takes you caring about it. It takes you wanting to make change. But its do-able to see immediate affects in your behaviour and feeling throughout the day.
There are options for dealing with your stress - it just takes your dedication to the cause.
Enjoy relaxing, and if you're ready for help with your stress and anxiety when it comes to nutrition there is lots we can look at.
Blood sugar balancing and the quality of foods to nourish your brain and body.
Holistic Nutrition works with where you are at right now - and creates you a plan based on that. Book a free 30 minute phone chat with me to see if working with me is a good fit for you!