Coping with stress

· November 8, 2016 · 3 minutes to read

 What is stress? what does it do?

I’ve recently gone through a massively stressful period, and my body did not thank me for! I bloated and ballooned out like you would believe due to stress! See me below picture taken on my phone last Tuesday 1st Nov.

bloat 1

1st off let’s define stress and its role in the body and then how we can learn to reduce it. Stress for me is, your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. When you feel threatened, your nervous system responds by releasing a flood of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, which rouse the body for emergency action, namely fight or flight. The trouble nowadays is that ‘the threat’ (stress) doesn’t just come from the threat of a man eating beast, it comes from credit card bills, mortgage and rent payments, phone bills, car troubles, relationships, kids, work pressure, and generally modern day life. The trouble with mental stresses is that the body responds in the same way as if you’re being chased by a hungry lion. As humans we would also relive that traumatic event which again will spike stress levels.

The actual physical job of the stress hormones is to ready the body for a sprint away from danger or a fight to show your supremacy. This process is hormonally very complex with lots of things going on so I’ll just go into the main bits

  1. Digestion shuts down, ever been really nervous (stress response) and you get a dry mouth? That’s phase 1 of digestion shutting down, if you’re running away from a lion you don’t need to be thinking about digesting food.
  2. Blood sugar raises, this is to give your legs and arms as much fuel as possible to burn during the fight or the chase. The after effect is that insulin rises as well to push that sugar into cells.
  3. You get the urge to pee and poop. This is because you don’t want to be carrying extra weight during the stressful chase so your body will do what it can to get lighter. Ever been really nervous and had to find a toilet to poop.. stress response

These are just 3 examples of what happens to your body during a stress response, there can be a host of response depending on the type of stress and how long you allow it go on. Chronic (ongoing) stress is a genuine killer, it can lead onto all sorts of health issues like insulin resistance, low thyroid function, poor digestion, mental fogginess, water retention, bloating and skin issues to name a few.

What can we do about it?

Coping with stress is a tough job, it requires discipline and also some knowledge. The 1st piece of knowledge you need is being able to identify that you are actually stressed in the first place. This is not a sign of weakness and should never be seen as one! the next step is know how you can reduce your source of stress, this might seeking a babysitting service, changing your job role at work, taking time out of your work day for lunch away from your desk what it may be. Here is what I did

  1. Had my sudden source of bad news, identified it and then wasn’t too scared of it, but its still there
  2. Ate a load of shitty food, and I mean shitty and I mean a lot of it!
  3. Took pictures of my ballooned stressed state for public ridicule (basically it made me accountable for my own state, tough love for myself there)
  4. I sought out some help and hired someone to help me
  5. Went back to the gym, did lots of stretching and breathing type exercises with some happy music playing
  6. Went to  a muay thai class to go kick and punch people safely
  7. Put a plan into place for myself to change my situation

Now I appreciate that this being my full time job I can take time out to go the gym, but prioritising time a great skill to acquire and one that save you a lot of health issues in the long run!

Key points for coping with stress

I’ll keep this as simple as I can, if you want more details then please fill in the contact and I’ll get back to you

  • Identify your sources for stress
  • Identify your outlets for stress through activity you enjoy, boxing, football, knitting, yoga, martial arts, walking on the beach or the through the country side, getting away from work, taking pictures whatever it needs to be
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help! I cannot emphasise this point enough! Its much more a sign of strength to ask for help than it is a sign of weakness.
  • Have an action plan, again so important other wise you’re just guessing about what to do.
  • Breathe! get more oxygen into your blood and it will make you feel so much better!

I’m going to leave this blog here and I hope this genuinely helps because if you can manage your stress you’re going to be healthier and happier 🙂

Much love

Dean.

 

 

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