Stress is your body’s response to a real or perceived threat. It can actually be both good and bad. Stress can be good for motivating you to focus and take action. Problems start to occur when it causes you to feel completely overwhelmed. This can cause you to try to avoid the problem that’s causing you stress and this can make the problem and the stress even worse.
How Your Body Responds To Stress
When you experience stress, your body releases a hormone called cortisol. In small amounts, cortisol isn’t a problem. But when the stress is chronic, the concentration of cortisol in your body stays elevated causing all sorts of problems.
One of the things that elevated cortisol levels cause is it makes you crave unhealthy foods. To add to this, when cortisol levels are high many of these extra calories get stored as abdominal fat which is the dangerous fat.
You may also find that you eat a lot more when you’re stressed. This is because cortisol can interfere with the hormones in your body that control appetite.
What You Can Do To Combat Stress
There’s always going to be sources of stress in life but luckily there are things you can do to keep it under control. Here are some tips to deal with stress so it doesn’t have a negative effect on you:
- Identify your specific stress. Take the time to figure out exactly what’s causing you to feel stressed. Rather than saying, “My job is causing me so much stress,” figure out exactly what part of your job is causing you the most stress. Maybe you’re stressed because you’ve taken on a project that is beyond your skill set. Once you pinpoint exactly where the stress is coming from, you can take steps to take care of the problem.
- Exercise. You can reduce cortisol levels in your body by exercising just thirty minutes each day. I recommend interval training to get the most out of your time. Interval training is where you alternate between lower and higher intensity periods of exertion and it actually allows you to achieve a more challenging workout in a shorter period of time than exercising at a consistent pace.
- Eat well. You need to fuel your body smartly, especially when you’re stressed. Eat healthy foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats.
- Get enough sleep. Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep each night. By doing this you can reduce your cortisol level by more than half of that of people who get less than six hours. Don’t underestimate the importance of getting enough sleep.
- Take time to relax everyday. Some people think relaxing is a waste of time and only meant for lazy people but it’s actually a necessity if you want to get your stress under control. Your mind has a profound impact on your body so you need to take that time to relax so your mind has a chance to rest and reset.
Have A Plan
You know there’s always going to be stress in your life so start thinking of healthy ways you can deal with your future stress. Maybe start a workout program and start stocking your kitchen with healthy foods. Plan when you’ll have your relaxation time every day. Have a sleep schedule that allows you to get seven to eight hours of sleep a night. Talk to friends and family and include them in your stress busting plans. Stress will always be there but we get to decide how we deal with it and how much effect it has on us.
What do you do to relieve stress in your life? Comment below so we can all help each other!