How to Manage Stress Levels
Let me ask you something; do you consider yourself to be a healthy person? Let’s say, yes, you do. You eat a healthy diet, you exercise regularly, you drink plenty of water, you avoid chemicals when possible, the list goes on. Sounds like these are some fair grounds for optimum health, right? But wait, you still aren’t noticing a big difference in your quality of life…? In that case, let me also ask you this; how demanding is your job? Family? Social life? Do you grind your teeth and clench your jaw at your desk without realizing? Are you constantly worrying about the future? Is your neck stiff? Do your thoughts keep you up at night? If any of the above sounds all too familiar, it’s time to step back and revaluate your stress levels.
Many people associate stress with being solely a psychological issue, but did you know that almost all body functions and organs react to stress? Allow me to give a little rundown as to how this happens.
I’m sure many of you have heard of the fight or flight response. This occurs when your body recognizes an outside threat, whether it be a tiger running after you or a deadline for an assignment that’s creeping up on you. The idea is that you are in danger, and your life must be preserved. Your body really doesn’t care what the threat is.
Now, what is the first thing you do when you see a tiger running towards you? Well, hopefully, you run. You run for dear life. Think of how fast you run when you know a threat is coming. You’re running faster than you ever thought you could, huh? That’s no coincidence. When your main focus is to get out of there alive, do you think your body is going to focus on its other daily functions that might slow it down? Digestion, nutrient absorption, sleep, detoxification? No. All that matters is survival, and so your body devotes all of its resources to that one goal. So, sure, you run faster for a while, but your body is just going to keep feeding on itself for nutrients to preserve energy until, eventually, you burn out. Now imagine… imagine if this were happening all the time? For many people, it is.
SO, because this isn’t the stone ages, most people aren’t spending a lot of time running from tigers. But by being in a state of constant stress (heavy workload, tense relationships, deadlines, debt) our body is giving us that same response, except it never really stops. In long term stress, your adrenal glands start releasing the hormone cortisol, which dramatically suppresses digestion and immune activity. This is a lot of work for the adrenal glands if stress levels never go down, and this is where you find incidences of adrenal fatigue (which, by the way, takes quite some time to correct).
So, with all of that being said, let’s talk about some ways you can take control of your life and manage stress levels!
1. Adaptogenic herbs that help your body adapt to stress! My personal favourite is ashwagandha
2. Avoid stimulants! Yes, I’m calling you out, caffeine. One cup of coffee a day is generally considered to be OK, but many coffee enthusiasts go well over this limit. Keep in mind that pop and teas often have caffeine as well!
3. Antioxidants! One of the many side effects of prolonged stress is extensive free radical damage. One of the best combinations you can get for powerful antioxidant activity is ACES + Zinc!
4. Deep breathing! You would be surprised at how effective taking a minute or two throughout the day to simply close your eyes and breath can be. This is a very grounding, calming practice.
5. Spend a few minutes a day venting in a journal! No judgement zone here, let it all out!
6. Complete proteins! Amino acids are rapidly depleted in this ongoing stress response
Luckily for you guys, AMIE custom supplements are jam packed with vitamins and minerals with powerful antioxidant abilities! Simply adding a scoop a day to your smoothie will give you a generous dosage of antioxidants and essential amino acids. Say goodbye to nutrient depletion, take that stress!