Let’s talk about…Stress
It should be another “4-letter word” except it’s 5. 5 little letters that can wreak havoc not just on your overall health, but your mental wellbeing, your motivation, your skin and your waistline! I know what you may be thinking – “Yeah, Yeah Aurea, it’s easy for you to be Zen but I’m here trying to pay some bills”. The truth is it’s not easy and I know it isn’t. Like you, I’m here working my tail off, running companies, taking care of my fur-babies and still doing my best to be social and take care of myself. It’s a lot. Back in the day, we had whole communities to support us in the day to day tasks of child-rearing, food-making, etc. Flash forward, most of us live in huge cities, with tons and tons of people but feeling disconnected from each other and from ourselves. Running in the hamster-wheel that we call “life”.
But… what IF we could manage our stress levels in a healthy and sustainable way??
Let’s start with understanding “Stress”. Stress is just a normal bodily response to changes in our environmental conditions. That’s it. It was useful and can still be. If in our caveman/cavewoman days, we encountered a ravenous Saber-toothed Tiger our bodies needed to respond adequately. That meant, get us the hell out of dodge! (Or prepare us to fight…and I don’t know about you? But I’m not fighting a tiger.) So, we needed the energy to run, as fast as we could, to safety. And that’s where the stress-response comes in. Also, called the “Fight or Flight Response”. It’s our bodies emergency system, designed to keep us safe.
What happens to our bodies when the stress-response is activated? Our bodies release two hormones, adrenaline and cortisol. But the ways in which it manifests can vary, person to person.
Here are a few common responses:
- Heartrate/pulse quickens
- Pupils dilate
- Breath quickens
- Restlessness or lack of motivation
- Insomnia or sleeping too much
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Sexual problems
- Difficulty concentrating
This all would be well and good, IF we only reacted to “real” stressors – like that tiger. But we live in a modern-society and can be triggered by a big presentation at work, our boss, or partner/spouse, even social media! The result is most people live, every day of their lives, with an acute-level of stress. And some of us, experience chronic levels of stress. This is not good!
Stress causes inflammation in the body, which leads to chronic illnesses.
Stress ages us!
Stress leads to weight-gain!
Stress zaps our energy levels!
Think of “stress” as a major boner-killer. Because it is. And I don’t about you but I want to experience the fulfillment, joy and fun in life because there’s too much of the opposite!
Now, here’s the upside! There are many ways to reduce your stress-levels so you can enjoy your life more and worry less!
Top 5 Ways to Diminish Stress
- Get your Beeeee-vitamins in!! B-vitamins are essential for a healthy body and to manage stress. But before you go popping a pill…the best sources of bio-available (read – easily absorbed by your body) B-vitamins come from whole foods (not the supermarket!).
- Lentils, black beans, dried peas, chickpeas
- Whole rolled oats (not instant!!), brown rice, quinoa, amaranth
- Nuts like almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts & Seeds like sunflower, chia
- Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and tuna
- Quality, organic, no-hormone/antibiotic sources of protein like lamb, turkey, turkey and eggs
- Cruciferous veggies like brussels sprouts, asparagus and broccoli & leafy greens like spinach
- Avocados, dried plums (unsweetened), bananas
- Organic Maca
- Bee products like raw honey, bee pollen, bee propolis, royal jelly. These can be added to your smoothies or chia seed pudding or in your tea. **BUT do not add to hot liquids!** Please make sure that the liquid you’re mixing it in with is warm but not hot. You don’t want to kill the health benefits of adding this to your routine.
- Take a breath!! Or several, deep breaths. When we’re stressed or fixated on something, we often forget to breathe. Aim to make a practice of taking 3-5 minutes, as needed throughout your day, to focus on your breath. Slowly and with intention, take a deep breath for a count of 4 and slowly release the breath for a count of 4. As you’re inhaling, envision yourself drawing in white, healing light from the Universe and as you’re exhaling, envision releasing all your tension, stress, worries to the Universe.
- Move your body!!
- Go for a walk
- Take a yoga class.
- Hit the gym
- Turn up the music and dance it out
Those are my Top 5! & they’re all pretty simple to implement. All it takes is a little mindfulness and taking it all one step at a time. Start with 1 thing you can do and stick to it until you’re comfortable adding another step.