Good Stress vs Bad Stress
Yes, there is such a thing as good stress, it’s what you feel when you get excited, go on a roller coaster, skydiving, or first date. It’s what keeps us alive and motivated. Bad stress can come in two forms acute or chronic. Acute is short lived and when dealt with quickly your body returns back to its healthy and happy state. Chronic stress from your career, finances, or home life can lead to very serious health issues, both physically and mentally. Stress increases inflammation which is the driving cause of most diseases: diabetes, cancer, heart disease, stroke, high cholesterol, autoimmune disease, Alzheimer’s. Chronic stress lowers your immune system, can cause weight gain, bloating, digestive issue, depression and anxiety.
Cortisol is the hormone released when any type of stress occurs, it’s responsible for the “fight or flight response.” In small quantities it is harmless. For example, if you are gearing up for a job interview your cortisol levels may temporarily rise to prepare you. However, in high prolonged doses cortisol contributes to inflammation in the body which can cause weight gain, anxiety, hormone imbalance, or sleep issues.
Changing the Stress Response
Your mind is powerful, shifting your perception of stress can change your experience. Reframe fears and threats to challenges or opportunities. What is your body trying to tell you? Where is the potential for a positive outlook?
Lowering Cortisol and Reducing Stress
How to avoid the cortisol, inflammation and stress trifecta. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet consisting of whole foods focused on healthy fats, fruits and vegetables, and quality sources of protein. Avoid artificial ingredients, gluten, soy, corn, sugar, packaged foods, caffeine and alcohol. Incorporate relaxation techniques such as meditation, acupuncture, deep breathing, getting out in nature, journaling, aromatherapy, or taking an epsom salt bath. Exercise regularly to help your body adapt and handle increased cortisol levels. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Ensure you are getting enough sleep, aim for seven to nine hours to allow your body the time it needs to go through its natural repair and detox processes.
How to De-Stress with Your Breath
Our breath is a great gift that is always with us, we just have to remember to use it. When you catch yourself feeling stressed, make a conscious effort to breathe deeply and slowly. It will help you feel a lot calmer.
- Sit comfortably in your chair
- Put one hand on your belly (just under your ribs) and keep the other hand on your chest
- Inhale deeply through your nose – You should feel your belly push out against your hand while your chest stays still. Breathing in possibility, hope, gratitude, pride.
- Exhaling through your mouth, with your lips pursed as though you’re about to whistle or blow out a candle. Breathing out tension, stress, fear, doubt.
- You’ll feel the hand on your belly drop until you’ve pushed all the air out
- Then, repeat this exercise between 3 and 5 times
Ginseng, Ashwagandga, Licorice Root, Maca, Rhodiola
Lavender, Rose, Frankincense, Bergamot
So many of us are operating daily from a place of constant stress to keep up with our jam packed schedules and to-do lists. Stress is a silent killer leading to more serious health issues. Whether or not you think you are stressed your body may be trying to tell you a different story. Pay attention to signs and symptoms you are experiencing. Take time to slow down, breathe, and practice self care daily.