Chronic stress is an ugly thing. Yes our body is equipped for stress, short-term stress that is, the adrenal glands are signaled and it triggers a release of cortisol and adrenaline, as well as an increase in blood pressure and blood sugar. Once the stressful situation has passed the cortisol decreases along with the blood pressure and blood sugar. When the stress persists this response doesn’t shut off and it can lead to adrenal fatigue. When the adrenals are constantly stimulated this leads to inflammation, thyroid insufficiency, fatigue, and many other ailments.
Chronic stress raises insulin and can lead to weight gain and insulin resistance. Needless to say we need to limit our stress, and for the stress that’s unavoidable here are ten ways to help minimize the impact it has on you!
- Meditate. Meditation is so beneficial in reducing stress. We know it can be daunting so try an app like Headspace. Give it ten minutes a day, we promise you won’t regret it.
- Get outside and soak up the sun. Vitamin D is linked to increased serotonin, also known as the feel good neurotransmitter. Being in nature whether that is at the beach or in a park reminds you that you are part of something bigger and can help put stressful situations into perspective.
- Laugh. Laughter could be the best medicine after all. Laughing releases endorphins and reduces the body’s stress response. Call up one of your girlfriends; play with your kids, or whoever makes you giggle.
- Get moving! Exercise literally burns off stress chemicals. So get your booty into Studio (MDR), start sweating, and shedding the stress.
- Eat Healthy! Excess sugar, carbohydrates, and refined foods add stress to your body. They spike your blood sugar, increase inflammation and can lead to weight gain.
- Sleep. A solid eight hours of sleep each night is one of the best things you can do to keep your stress in check.
- Practice deep breathing. Inhale for a count of five and exhale for a count of five, breathing from your belly. Do that five times. Deep full breaths have a profound affect on resetting the stress response. The vagus nerve goes through your diaphragm and is stimulated with every deep breath. It actually activates the parasympathetic nervous system and releases anti-stress hormones.
- Express gratitude. By focusing on what you are grateful for you shift your focus from what causes anxiety or stress to what brings you joy.
- Aromatherapy. Oils like lavender or rosemary can stimulate the limbic system and release chemicals in the brain that promote relaxation and calmness.
- Break out of your routine. Whether it’s picking up a guitar, cooking, playing tennis, or practicing calligraphy, just do something outside of your daily routine.