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Four Ways to Banish Stress

In this, the strangest year ever I have many conversations with friends and colleagues about stress.

Many people are feeling it, understandably so. However if being stressed out fixed anything I'd tell you to load up on it. Stress fixes nothing, and instead robs you having some joy in your life. 

There are many things you can do to combat stress but in this week's blog I want to share some of the top ways (in my opinion) to bring down your stress levels. While a stress response is normal to life's challenges, most people live in a constant stress state that is damaging to their long term health. 

There are some simple and practical ways to bring your stress levels under control.

1) Sleep

I consider sleep to be a superpower. For someone who used to party late into the wee hours of the night this is quite the statement. If only I knew then what I know now. Sleep naturally helps lower stress in your body. It's so important for your wellbeing that when you don't get enough sleep your body actually perceives that to be a stressful event in and of itself. Wow!

Everyone needs a different amount of sleep to function at their best. For most people it's between 7-10 hours of sleep a night. To determine how much sleep you need go to bed around 10pm and don't set an alarm for the next day. See what time you get up naturally. That's how much sleep you need. Also do your best to get an uninterrupted night's sleep as sleep disruption affects your body's ability to recover well from the day. 

Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

2) Nutrition

Having optimal nutrition is important for a number of reasons. Foods that are highly processed, full of chemicals, GMOs, very oily, with lots of meat and dairy are very hard on your body, especially your gut. In a way it does stress your body out to eat these kinds of foods. Processed sugar actually puts your body on a sugar roller coaster and deprives your body of vital nutrients.

For best health you want to eat foods that are unprocessed and organic, whenever it's possible to get organic foods. Having a variety of whole plant foods creates a better variety of micro organisms in your gut that are health promoting. In fact a study in 2014 showed that people who ate a 100% meat diet had disease promoting microbes in their gut and those who ate 100% plant foods had health promoting microbes. All the more reason to load up on plants!

Plant foods are great for gut health. With a healthy gut you also have a better immune system. Since 90% of the serotonin in your body lives in your gut, having a healthy gut also means your mood will be better. When you mood is better even when life does throw stressful events your way, you'll be able to better handle them.

3) MOVE!

North Americans spend way to much time sitting! Sitting in their cars, in front of their t.v. screens and computers (like me writing this blog), and sitting at meetings and so many other places. Sitting is definitely the new smoking! Get out and move your beautiful body! Besides helping to build muscular strength, boost immune health, increase circulation, and helping with cognitive function regular exercise helps boost endorphins in your body that help you feel good. Plus exercise reduces cortisol and adrenaline. 

There are so many ways you can move. Dance in your kitchen. Jump on a trampoline. Go for a walk, do a HIIT workout, yoga and so many other ways you can move daily. Make it a daily habit to move. The more you get in the habit, the easier it will become. If you have trouble with motivation find an accountability buddy who will join you. Regular exercise is also a great way to spend quality time with your partner if you're in a relationship. Try different activities until you find something you enjoy doing. The more you enjoy it, the more likely you'll stick with it.

4) Meditation/Break Work

If you've been reading my blogs you know how much I love meditation. In fact I start every single day with a long meditation. You don't have to spend hours a day meditating to enjoy the benefits. You'll notice a change in your response to stress by simply meditating for even 15 minutes a day.

Meditation helps reduce your blood pressure, boosts creativity and does many other things along with reducing your stress levels. It's a great way to train your mind. If you're not into meditation (yet) you can do some deep breathing. Spending 5 minutes first thing in the morning doing some deep breathing and you'll notice your response to the stresses of the day will be much better. 

Why? Deep breathing helps to calm your nervous system. Most people are in a sympathetic nervous system state all day, also known as a fight or flight state. By starting your day with deep breathing you are actually putting your body from sympathetic nervous system state into a parasympathetic nervous system state, also known as rest and digest. Deep breathing will help change your state. 

Try out the tips in this blog. I love learning about how my tips help people so feel free to contact me

Photo by Jared Rice


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