Reduce Your Stress & Improve Your Overall Health

Posted on August 6, 2019 at 9:19 am

Modern life can be very hectic, focused on doing rather than being which can lead to high levels of stress. Short term stress can be helpful for the body and mind. This leads to the release of hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline from the adrenal glands. The sympathetic system also activates redirecting the body’s resources to deal with the stress in hand. The ideal situation is that once we deal with this stress our body can go back to its relaxed response, and all is well again. However, this is not always the case and many individuals can harbour chronic stress from either from day to day events, one significant stressful event or trauma. Our body then can only fight this for a period of time before it goes into shut down, and turning on one or more physical or emotional health issues. Many chronic disease statistics cite chronic stress as one of the causes as predisposing, precipitating or perpetuating factor.

So, how can we address stress and create a more healthy life?

  • The first important step is recognising and being aware that chronic stress is gradually building up. Having regular practices of looking after yourself through healthy diet, movement, connecting with nature and your loved ones will keep this under check.
  • Focus on breathing- I recently learnt in my Functional Medicine module that 20 seconds of focussed breathing and meditation can start to have positive impact on neuroplasticity. Slow focussed breathing to a count of 4/4 or 5/5 can help us with grounding and feeling calmer. Make this an everyday routine, even it is for a couple of minutes.
  • Make sure you sleep well- We are all familiar with our sleep (duration and quality) of sleep getting affected when we have deadlines looming. Make sure you tell yourself what time you will finish with your chores every day and have some gadget free time prior to sleep. It is important you stick to this and remember if you have slept well, you will be more productive next day. So, don’t skimp on sleep.
  • Spend some time with your loved ones over a meal or playing a short game or taking a walk in nature. Social connection has been proven to reduce feelings of stress.
  • Exercise- Even a few minutes of movement can break the monotony, release the feel-good hormone-serotonin to help you feel and perform better. You can do some jumping jacks in your office or go for a few minutes run.

All of these may feel daunting at first, start with one thing and slowly add on the next thing when you feel comfortable and before you know the above may become part of your weekly routine which will go a long way to build resilience.