Stress is an absolutely normal reaction the body has when change occurs. It can affect your mood and your performance and of course your interaction with loved ones, including fur babies. They notice! Everybody has stress, and whilst it is normal dealing with it can either make the situation worse or alleviate it. At the age of 43 life is catching up and the normal answer to stress can’t be the same remedy going forward. Work hard, play hard is no longer a strategy that works for you, your body, or your mind. Finding alternative ways to alleviate the symptoms of stress will create a better longer-term vision for your life. Finding a healthier way of dealing with stress is imperative as you get older.
What does stress do to your brain?
Researchers found that when stress becomes a way of life the prefrontal cortex part of your brain begins to reduce in size. This cortex regulates your amygdala, blood pressure, and heartbeat but also enables you to learn, plan, concentrate and make judgments.
Stress creates double trouble
Under long term stress, the hippocampus reduces in size which impacts your memory. The hippocampus is principally involved in storing your long-term memories and in making those memories resistant to forgetting. It is also thought to play an important role in spatial processing and navigation
Prolonged stress or chronic stress over a number of years will reduce the ability of the hippocampus to work efficiently. It becomes smaller and your long term memory is affected. You only have to watch a colleague who you recognise as a stress bunny by nature and how they jump from one thing to another, forgetting what they were saying or doing to see the reality of long term stress in action.
The other issue with long term stress is that the amygdala in the brain increases. This is important because the amygdala fuels your ‘fear’ response and circular thought patterns driving anxiety.
Decreased sizes of the hippocampus affecting your memory and increased size of your amygdala mean that you are more aware and more prone to a stressful reaction. It becomes double trouble
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6 ways to reduce your stress response
Drink green tea
I have been a long time advocate of green tea because it has comp can also have a calming effect on your mind. Theanine, an amino acid found in green tea leaves, helps you relax and keep stress at bay. According to researchers, theanine also helps to reduce anxiety. Other teas that can help reduce stress are chamomile tea which has a smooth flavour that makes it easy to sip on. Peppermint tea is refreshing both hot and cold and valerian root tea has been used in herbal medicine for thousands of years for its natural sedative effect
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Research from the Mayo Clinic outlines that exercise in any form can act as a stress reliever. It helps pump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins, and will lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety.
The CrossFit motto is ‘nobody ever regrets completing a workout’
Exercising will improve your self-esteem especially if you do it with friends.
The gym isn’t the best way to improve your physicality or your self-esteem. Comparison-itis is a thing, comparing yourself to 25 year old isn’t going to help your body image. The stationary aspect of the gym equipment means you only focus on one or two muscles at a time. Mat based class based Pialtes is the best thing for your body and your mind. I may be a little biased. Find a physical activity you enjoy, whether it’s on your bike, tennis or vigorous walking, more like running than walking. Exercising regularly and sticking to it will improve your physical and mental health.
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A study from the University of British Columbia found that limiting the frequency of checking email throughout the day reduced daily stress and also makes you less productive at work. Reduce checking your email to three times a day — once in the morning, once in the afternoon and once at night — this will reduce your stress at work and boost productivity.
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A study from Swinburne University in Melbourne, levels of salivary cortisol (a physiological stress marker) in gum chewers were lower by 16 percent than non-gum chewers during mild stress and nearly 12 percent lower in moderate stress.
Laughter strengthens your immune system, boosts mood, diminishes pain, and protects you from the damaging effects of stress, brings your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. It lightens your burdens, inspires hope, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert. It also helps you release anger and forgive sooner.
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Writing stuff down, helps you to reevaluate your reaction to an event at work or at home.
The letter that should never be sent.
If you haven’t got a coach to gain perspective then using pen and paper is the next best way of overcoming stressful thoughts, that harm you, not the perpetrator. Journaling is a therapeutic way to work through the frustrations you face in the workplace.
So, instead of bottling your work frustrations inside, let them out on paper.
Change that lasts forever takes time, one step at a time. Creating a long-lasting ‘relationship with yourself’. A loving, cherished relationship with yourself. A lifestyle change with reduced stress will take longer, but the results are transformational. Adaptative change that works with your life, creates confidence and long term effective change.
I’d love to chat about the change you want to see happen, book a time that suits and let’s work together and become the best version of you, it is your time
Get Gorgeous is a journey together – yours and mine.
PS. Gorgeous! is your insight into great health and vitality Gorgeous! how to look and feel fantastic every day. Click here to download your FREE chapter of Gorgeous!
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