We are all flat out and busy and our stress levels are mirroring these aspects of our lives.
Majority of people say they have more stress in their lives than they did 5 years ago, which is more than 10 years ago.
To be quite honest, it’s probably going to get worse before it gets better.
And the only way things are going to change is if we actively do something about it. If we are not changing our lifestyle then we cannot expect our stress levels to change either.
So what can we do about this?
How can we lower our stress levels?
Well first we may need to look at what effects stress has on our body.
Effects of stress:
Chronic stress can be a triggering factor to a range of other health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and autoimmune disease but it can also effect the following:
- alter digestive function and increase incidence of IBS, SIBO and other digestive complaints
- increase incidence of anxiety and depression and other mood disorders
- intensify insomnia
- cause weight gain
- cause irregular eating patterns
- cause infertility
- increase inflammation
- alter thyroid function
- increase insulin resistance
Ways to lower for our stress levels:
There are a multitude of ways we can work on this and not everyday is suitable for everyone, remember we are all individual!
Give a few of these a try and see how you go. Remember these things take practice and the results are not immediate, take your time and try and enjoy the process!
1. We need to start being mindful. We need to start slowing down and stop overachieving in our day. Undertaking one task at a time is the best way to do this and it is challenging especially when we are becoming used to multitasking.
2. Remove the perception of perfection. In our society, we have a strong perception that we need to be amazing partners, successful in our chosen careers, live in a beautiful house, have the right car, take the best holidays etc. etc.
We need to acknowledge what we want in our lives and what we can manage to achieve and remove the concept of perfection. We are all perfect in our own right.
3. Eat the right nutrients to support our stress levels. When our bodies are stressed we deplete necessary nutrients faster than we would normally. These nutrients are B vitamins, zinc, magnesium and calcium. We need to ensure we are consuming foods that are rich in these nutrients to support our body. Hint, Hint, you can get all of these nutrients from the humble vegetable, the more the better.
4. Ensure our To Do lists are manageable. Are we really going to clean out the garage if we put it on our To Do list daily? The answer to that is no, and we are increasing our stress levels by having unrealistic To-Do lists. We need to write our To-Do list and half it. By all means, if you finish your To-Do list, head to the garage but for now lets begin by creating realistic and achievable goals.
5. Exercise - exercise has been shown to lower stress levels. 30 minutes of physical activity has been shown to lower stress. But if 30 minutes daily is too much for you, lets begin with 10 minutes. Something is always better than nothing!
6. Meditation is another activity that like exercise has been shown to significantly lower stress levels. It can be as simple as downloading an app and practising for as little as 10 minutes daily. I am a big fan of Progressive Muscle Relaxation which is a form of meditation so stay tuned for more information in following blog posts.
7. Improve sleep quality - while we sleep our cortisol (stress hormone) levels lower. Our bodies and minds need rest and sleep so improving the length of time and quality of sleep is important. Perhaps this means going to bed 15 minutes earlier or turning off the TV an hour earlier of an evening.
8. Learn to breath. Breathing is something we all take for granted but are we breathing correctly? To lower stress we need to breath into our lower lungs or the sensation of breathing into our belly. This increases our oxygen capacity and lowers our stress response as we need to be mindful to undertake this. When we are stressed, we shallow breathe.
If you are feeling like your stress levels are becoming overwhelming, please contact us to assist with supporting you.