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The Top 3 Ways Stress Impacts Your Life

Our body is built to handle stress, but not all day, every day.  The natural response to perceived threats is a healthy one, yet it’s important we return to baseline when the threat has passed.  Take time to pause, check in, and create an environment you can succeed in…

Sleep:  Our body releases chemicals, cortisol and adrenaline, when we are confronted with stress.  They immediately help with energy availability and awareness.  This is great when dealing with an emergency, but will obviously impact our nights sleep if we don’t have the opportunity to calm things down.  Try to develop a relaxing night time routine, with as little stimulus as possible.  Go for a walk, read, or try a light meditation.  Over time you can train yourself to separate from the stressful moments, simply dealing with them as they arise.  Try to avoid eating too late, screen time, or stressful dialogue before you sleep.  

Digestion:  The fight-or-flight stress response creates more available glucose in the bloodstream, giving the brain and the rest of our body readily available energy.  This is great for stressful situations, as we need to be sharp, make quick decisions, and often be physically ready to operate.  Chronic stress can create confusion with hunger signals.  Quick responses to blood sugar demands are often being met in the form of processed foods high in refined sugars, flours, and chemicals.  Not only can stress disrupt how we use energy, it can also trigger some unhealthy eating habits.  Try your best to stick to real food, especially during challenging times.  You will help yourself whether the storm.

Mood:  Our stress response is complicated, as parts of our brain (the hypothalamus) react to stimulus and set off a chain reaction of hormone responses.  We all perceive stress differently, with some triggers having deep emotional roots.  Chronic stress is associated with anxiety and depression, as the combination of hormones, perception, and experience can wreak havoc on our reality.  Exercise is a great way to bring balance to our systems.  It reduces cortisol, balances out blood sugar, and releases endorphins that boost our mood.  Choose what feels good for you, whether it be walking, running, yoga, or an exercise session.  For a double mood booster do it outside, as being in nature provides calming effects.

Sean Fitzpatrick

Author Sean Fitzpatrick

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