I don’t care whether you’re eating a 100% organic wildcrafted non GMO gluten free vegan fairtrade diet and drinking pure glacier water from a mineral rich Himalayan spring.
If you’re not managing your stress levels, you’re never going to be healthy.
In our modern day world we are faced with an onslaught of stress from the moment our feet touch the floor in the morning to the moment our head hits the pillow at night.
These stressors include:
- Work stress
- Relationship stress
- Family stress
- Environmental stress (pollution, poor air quality, lack of sunlight)
- Dietary stress (poor food choices)
- Exercise induced stress (overtraining)
- Hormonal stress (usually from poor lifestyle choices, lack of sleep etc)
Stress itself isn’t inherently a bad thing. In fact, stress is our built-in survival mechanism designed to keep us safe in times of danger.
What is stress?
During a stress response our heart rate is increased, blood is shunted away from organs such as the digestive system and towards major muscle groups, and stress hormones adrenalin and cortisol are released.
This gives us a burst of energy and strength to deal with dangerous situations – such as fighting an advancing predator or escaping a forest fire. But the problem is, our body doesn’t know how to differentiate between genuine life-threatening stress and the stress we face at work or when stuck in traffic.
This puts most of us into a state of chronic stress, which research has shown to manifest itself in approximately 60 – 75% of all disease in the Western world.
What can we do about it?
- Building solid relationships is key. Surround yourself with positive, inspiring people that bring out the best version of yourself.
- Get outside as much as possible. Vitamin D3 is a powerful mood booster that cuts through cortisol production like a knife. Take a supplement in winter, or year round if you work indoors.
- Make at least one person smile every day.
- Work up a sweat. Find a sport or exercise programme you love and flood your body with endorphins.
- Try to worry less. Life is full of events that are out of our control, and that is what makes it so much fun.
- Cut out the processed, refined foods from your diet wherever possible. Excess sugars, bleached flours and trans fats are the biggest dietary stressors on the planet. Check out this article on a nutritionist's advice for a stronger immune system.
- Follow some sort of mindfulness practice every day. Whether that’s meditation, walking the dog or just reading; try to be in the present moment as much as possible.
- Put your phone down and switch off your notifications because one of the biggest things we can do for our health is spend less time on social media.
- Guard your time fiercely. Say no more so you can say ‘hell yes’ to the things that light you up the most.
Be kind to yourself
Kinder than you have ever been. Invest in self care daily. I promise that you deserve it.
We can’t wrap ourselves up in cotton wool and avoid stress for the rest of our lives, but we can minimise the chronic stressors that we face on a daily basis. Why not have a listen to my podcast episode with Jamie Hughes on breathwork which includes 3 amazing breathwork exercises! In doing so you will improve your health faster than any supplement, superfood or exercise programme ever could.
If you want more on ways to de-stress, check out this article on 21 ways you can kick stress out of your life.