None of us are immune to stress, but did you know there are two types?
Yep, just like everything else, we have to strike a balance with our stress levels.
So don’t worry, you don’t need to avoid stress nor lead a tranquil Buddhist lifestyle.
Stress can be a good thing – good stresses, known as eustress, are things that occur in daily life and are inescapable. These are actually good for the body and the mind; it has been proven that mild bouts of eustress have been shown to actually enhance and improve cognitive brain function. It refreshes the body’s fight or flight response without prolonging and weakening it.
So next time you’re late for the bus, think of the journey your body just went on and congratulate yourself on the mini achievement.
On the other side of the coin, Bad stress (distress) is when you are stressed over a prolonged period of time.
When stress hormones are elevated for a long time, like cortisol and lead to weakened adrenals.
The body’s immune system can be particularly affected by bad stress, leading to a higher susceptibility to colds, coughs and flu.
In very chronic cases both the digestive system and reproductive system can be affected.
Research has also linked bad stress to ailments including depression, heart disease, weight gain and memory loss.
How to lower stress naturally
Carbohydrates & wholegrains:
Time to put that carb-phobia to rest. All carbohydrates prompt the brain to make more serotonin. For a steady supply of this feel-good chemical, it’s best to eat complex carbs, which take longer to digest. Good choices include whole-grain breads, pastas, and breakfast cereals, including old-fashioned oatmeal.
These types of carbs also help you feel balanced by stabilizing blood sugar levels.
Make fish your friend; omega-3 fatty acids, found in salmon and tuna, can prevent surges in stress hormones and may help protect against heart disease, depression, and PMS. For a steady supply of feel-good omega-3s, aim to eat 3 ounces of fatty fish at least twice a week.
Crunchy raw vegetables can help ease stress in a purely mechanical way. Munching celery or carrot sticks helps release a clenched jaw, and that can ward off tension.
Moving your body little and often, whether a gym session or leisurely stroll, releases serotonin – the feel-good hormone.
As well getting a endorphin kick, focusing on a task acts as a kind of meditation and stress relief.
Treat yourself to a massage; it will relax the fascia in your muscles and drain the toxins away. Or why not make a spa day in your own home: water has a soothing effect, so run a bath with your favourite oils and soak it in.
Have you got a stress-busting routine that works for you? What stops you from relaxing on a daily basis?
Email me, I’d love to hear from you x