In our busy, modern society we are constantly being exposed to various forms of stress each day. While a little stress helps us to perform at our best, ongoing stress leads to dysregulation of various hormone systems, undermines the immune system and can lead to chronic illnesses including: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, autoimmune disease, cancer and mental illness.
The stress response is primarily driven by your adrenal glands, which sit on top of the kidneys and are responsible for the secretion of hormones that are required to help your body function during times of stress. In the case of chronic stress, the adrenal glands response becomes affected and the body becomes less and less able to deal with stress.
There are different types of stress – emotional, psychological, physical and environmental – that all contribute to your overall stress load. Even a positive stress such as getting married, buying your first house or changing jobs can add to your stress burden and affect your health. With exposing your body to stress daily, eventually every major system of the body is affected including the immune, hormonal, neurological and metabolic systems. Long-term effects of stress can lead to an avalanche.
Here are my TOP 10 stress busting tips:
- Stress: It is imperative that you address all stressors in your life. If emotional stress has played a role, it may be time to get some counseling to help work through unresolved issues that may be affecting your life now.
- Lifestyle: It’s easy to push yourself but taking a good look at your lifestyle and making some positive changes really helps. Surrounding yourself with positive influences is essential.
- Relaxation Techniques: Whether it be yoga, meditation or cooking, find out what works to relax you and make time for it every week.
- Exercise: Probably the last thing you’ll feel like doing but regular, gentle exercise is a true stress buster.
- Diet: Nutritional deficiencies are just another form of stress, so eat well. Get some professional advice on this if you don’t know where to start.
- Avoid Stimulants: Alcohol, sugar, caffeine, nicotine, recreational drugs have all got to go.
- Address any other health problems: Chronic allergies, infections are all a source of stress on the body. If you have an underlying health condition talk to your naturopath
- Hydrate: Each person’s water requirement depends on their weight, temperature and exercise. Normal intake is calculated by multiplying weight in kilo’s by 33mls. (e.g. 70kg x 33mls=2.310L). Exercising in hot conditions would require a greater intake. Dehydration adds to your stress load.
- Just say no: Don’t over commit yourself, manage your work/life balance. Look after yourself and give yourself time to recover your health.
- Get some Professional Advice: Herbal and nutritional medicine can make the world of difference. A well balanced treatment plan from a professional Naturopath, including dietary, lifestyle, herbal and nutritional medicine, will really help to improve your body’s response to stress and your overall health of hormonal changes in the body which may have serious side effects on the body. The excess glucose released is quickly converted to fat, which is why chronic stress is a major factor in weight gain. Generally, the earlier symptoms of stress are debilitating enough to force people to seek help. The earlier it is identified and treated the better the chance of recovery.