1st February 2015 - Instructional
Stress Less Part 1
Stress Less for Long Lasting Results! Sometimes we just need something simple to get the ball rolling before leading on to greater achievements through health, fitness and sport. But before you go from doing very little to planning your first marathon within the space of a month I suggest you look at eliminating as much stress as possible. If you have a high level of stress, physically, mentally and/or emotionally your body will be in constant break down! Yes mild stress can stimulate the body and mind but any high level of stress will break down the balance of the body and wear you out. When the body is out of balance and there are high stress levels it will only go further into a negative. From then on it is only a matter of time before the body, mind or spirit will ‘break’. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to find out if stress is having a negative effect on you:
- Are you anxious, irritable or worried a lot of the time?
- Do you struggle to sleep well?
- Do you feel exhausted when you wake up?
- Are you exhausted regularly?
- Do you struggle to switch off from work or stressful situations?
- Are you craving sugary or fatty foods?
- Do you have skin or digestive problems?
- Does moderate exercise make you tired?
- Are there a lot of niggling pains or stiffness within the body?
If you have answered yes to two or more of these questions then stress in some shape or form is having an impact on you. Stress is accumulative and can be difficult to spot until you are highly stressed so it is important to assess stress levels on a regular basis. Before we go onto combating these issues let me explain why long lasting results are hard to achieve under stress. When we are under any form of stress it will affect us physically, this means that the body will be under constant strain, being pulled out of balance and unable to repair on a daily basis. This is why the body keeps breaking down and eventually you end up injured, ill or exhausted and unable to maintain any kind of routine. Now I am a huge believer that once the body breaks down the mind will follow and vice-versa. It may not be in an extreme manner but can lead to you constantly feeling unmotivated, lethargic or having a negative attitude. Again this makes maintaining any regular exercise and health programme very difficult. But as humans we are designed and taught to be resilient physically, mentally and emotionally. So if the body is fatigued but constantly being pushed it will most likely rely on the adrenal glands for energy and this is something we should only be using in very small doses. Constant adrenal use can lead to adrenal fatigue, which I will explain in part 2 of this article along with why you will struggle to lose weight due to this. Right now let’s look at some really simple ways to get control of the stress and start working your way towards full health.
- Be kind to yourself- Don’t constantly give yourself a hard time about the way you look or feel. Negative thoughts or emotions normally trigger more negative thoughts and we just keep adding layers to it until all self confidence is lost. Try to get yourself into the correct balance of discipline and enjoyment so that you are achieving and enjoying at the same time. Along with this focus on the positive things in life and be grateful for them!
- Introduce recovery strategies- If you have been under a lot of stress you need to repair and re-build before you can feel fit and energized again. Recovery strategies may include exercise such as- GENTLE yoga, tai chi, mobility, walking, movement and breath work. It could include massage or alternative therapies such as- acupuncture, reiki or reflexology. Recovery strategies can also mean simply putting time aside for you, reading positive or personal development books, investing time with family, friends and having fun. Ideally you will start adding a combination of all of these types of recovery into your daily and weekly routine. If you have trouble sleeping it can be beneficial to add some of these gentle strategies in the evening before you sleep.
- Eat well- At the moment I want to keep things simple so I will not go into the specifics of what and when to eat, that will be covered in part 2. For just now make a conscious effort with your choices of food. Start your day well and think about what the best choice is for you with each meal or snack. There can be huge benefits for little effort here!
Now this may seem really simple and no revelation but it is all about the practice. Total Health are all about making lots of small changes that are consistent to have a huge impact. This is what we believe makes healthy, happy successful individuals.