School is almost back in session which means major organization needed, major scheduling, major traffic, AND obviously, major stress. Stress is an unpleasant fact of life. We all experience it, and for some of us, we allow it to take over our minds and eventually our bodies.
The key is to find ways to manage it—squash it—and don’t let it rule us. Stress does terrible things to your mood, your energy and your overall physiology. Common symptoms of stress we know all too well: insomnia, headaches, jaw pain, back and neck pain, heartburn and nausea, nervousness and anxiety, nail-biting, and trouble focusing. Even high blood pressure, stroke and obesity! But stress does some other crazy sh*t …
- Stress changes the expression of your genes. Your genes load the gun, the environment pulls the trigger. Your stressed our body produces chemicals, activating genes that change everything — how much fat you store, your immune function, ageing and even the development of CANCER.
- Stress affects memory function. High levels of stress hormones damage critical parts of the brain, especially the area responsible for memory. People experience adrenal burnout after chronic stress because the brain actually turns off the adrenals. So relax, silly.
- Stress jacks with your immune system and increases inflammation. Stress is the ultimate immune-modulator. It slows wound healing and increases your susceptibility to infections.
- Stress slows your ability to metabolize and detoxify. Genes responsible for enzymes that break down fats and detoxify prescription drugs are negatively impacted by stress. Stress also adds to your toxin burden by increasing your cravings for high fat, high sugar foods. We all know that one, right? The stress hormones actually make you hang on to your fat cells.
The American Institute of Stress (AIS) has a list of 50 common signs and symptoms of stress. Check it out! So in addition to making us cranky and fat, it can also make us chronically ill? Tell me how to fix this!
What we think and feel, and how long we think or feel it, determines our health. The science is strong, and yet so often since stress is considered something we can’t really quantify, it gets dismissed as not being “real.”
Here are a few ways to quell stress in your life:
- Meditate. Come on … Don’t quit reading. Meditation can mean different things to different people. Mindfulness, intention setting, gratitude lists all are part of a mediation practice. Simple deep breathing exercises and morning quiet time (even 15 minutes a day will make an enormous difference). Gabby Bernstein rocks. Wayne Dyer too. This does not take the place of your daily prayer. Try deep breathing exercises in the carpool line or at a traffic light. I swear it will change your life.
- Laugh. Call a friend, watch a movie, fake it if you have to!
- Magnesium. Deficiencies in this mineral have been linked to anxiety as well as a litany of sleep disorders. Go get you some CALM tea today. P.S. It will also keep you regular. There is also a Calm Bath Soak that is amazing as a bedtime ritual along with some lavender oil that will knock your socks off.
- Exercise. Do something everyday—preferably something that raises your heart rate and makes you sweat. Walk with a friend, jump on the trampoline with your kids, or turn up Donna Summer and disco dance off of the chandeliers for all I care. Just do it!
- Plan your food. At the very least, have healthy food options in your fridge. You can’t manage stress on Cheetos and drive-thrus. Plus eating like that can add MORE depression and anxiety to your life. (Insider scoop, we will be blogging about this in September: simple, healthy fridge options). Start your day with a Green Glow or a superfood-packed Crown Jewel smoothie. What stressor can possibly bring you down now??
We can help you with all this at The GEM, whether with your nutritional needs, a much-needed laugh or schedule a Diamonds Counseling Stress Session – Just ask!
Next up: Stress and Yoga!!