What is Stress Doing to Your Body?
A chronic state of stress can have widespread negative effects, such as:
- Poor digestion – reduced digestive secretions can lead to symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain, constipation or diarrhoea, IBS or reflux.
- Irregular blood sugar control – the hormone cortisol signals the release of sugars into the bloodstream in anticipation that muscles will need fuel to help you run away. These sugar spikes can lead to weight gain if the sugars are not utilised as muscle fuel and instead converted to fat.
- Hormonal imbalances – lack of libido, menstrual irregularity and fertility issues can all arise when your body switches to making stress hormones in preference to sex hormones.
A Life Less Stressful
There are a number of lifestyle changes you can employ to help manage your stress and optimise your wellbeing:
- Eat healthy – lean proteins, antioxidant-rich fresh fruits and vegetables and essential fatty acids from oily fish, nuts and seeds, all nourish your neurotransmitters.
- Exercise regularly – a fabulous stress buster, exercise helps burn up excess adrenaline whilst releasing the ‘feel good’ chemical messengers, the ‘endorphins’.
- Get enough sleep (seven to eight hours) – practice good ‘sleep hygiene’ techniques such as no TV or computer time for at least half an hour before bedtime and avoid caffeine in the afternoon & evening.
- Meditate – particularly helpful if you cannot “switch off” your brain at night. There are numerous techniques available to help calm an overactive mind, such as transcendental meditation, yoga breathing, mindfulness and creative visualisation.
Stress is an inevitable part of modern lifestyles, but it needn’t get the better of you nor keep you from reaching your health goals. Talk to me today about strategies and supplements you can use to regain control over the stress in your life.