Managing Stress and Balancing Your Mind and Body

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What is Stress?

According to the World Health Organisation “Stress can be defined as a state of worry or mental tension caused by a difficult situation. Stress is a natural human response that prompts us to address challenges and threats in our lives.”

The human body is under a certain amount of stress in every moment to keep you upright, breathing and functioning. Beyond the normal functions of metabolism, structure, temperature regulation, immune regulation, hormone synthesis and digestion, the human body requires some degree of “normal” stress to get you out of bed in the morning and ready to tackle the day.

But imagine you’re stuck in traffic late for a meeting, you feel your heart rate rising, your to-do list is firing around your mind, your phone rings and it’s the school calling to say that your child is sick, and someone needs to come and collect them. You are stuck in your car going nowhere and yet your body is primed with enough adrenaline to outrun a tiger! This nervous system state is called sympathetic dominance or “fight or flight.”

This kind of drip, drip, drip of unrelenting stress can become chronic and may lead to many health conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, immune dysregulation and many more.

Managing Stress, man stressed out in front of the laptop

5 Symptoms of Stress?

Some of the symptoms of stress are, but not limited to:

  • Headaches or migraines
  • Muscle tension or body aches
  • Digestive issues, such as stomach pain, nausea, or diarrhoea
  • Fatigue or low energy levels

How To Manage Your Stress?

To avoid the negative effects of stress it is crucial to adopt strategies that promote relaxation, resilience, and recovery to aid the body in shifting out of “fight or flight” and into “rest and digest.”

Here are some strategies that you can begin to incorporate into your lifestyle today:

Healthy Lifestyle Habits
Adopt healthy lifestyle habits to support resilience to stress and overall wellbeing. Prioritise nutritious eating, adequate sleep, and limiting caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco consumption.

1 step to super: swap out your sugary cereal one morning a week for a protein rich option such as boiled/poached/scrambled eggs on toast

Prioritise Nutritious Eating 
Eating a balanced diet rich in a variety of nutrients, including DHA, B vitamins such as B5, B6, B12, as well as C, folate, and zinc, can help support brain health, psychological function, and stress management, ultimately promoting overall wellbeing. In addition, supplementing with a product such as Mastermind ensures that you are getting these beneficial nutrients into your diet to support your brain and cognition, nervous system, and mental performance.

Mindfulness and Meditation
Mindfulness practices, such as meditation, deep breathing, and body scanning.

1 step to super: sit in a comfortable chair, plant your feet on the ground placing awareness on your sit bones touching the chair surface. Breathe 10 times into your belly exhaling slowly out through your mouth.

Regular Exercise
Physical activity is one of the most powerful stress-reducing strategies. Exercise helps release endorphins, the body's natural mood lifters, and reduces levels of stress hormones like cortisol.

1 step to super: every time you boil the kettle for a cuppa do 10-star jumps, lunges, or squats.

Establish a regular sleep schedule
Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night.

1 step to super: swap from caffeinated beverages to decaf or just water from 12noon each day

Stress Reduction Techniques
Find activities that help you unwind and recharge, such as listening to music, spending time in nature, practicing a hobby, or engaging in creative expression.

1 step to super: create a walking/running playlist of your favourite music on whatever music platform you listen to.

Social Support and Connection
Spend time with supportive friends and family members who provide emotional encouragement and practical assistance.

1 step to super: send a text, make a call, or send an email to a friend or family member you haven't connected with in a while.

You can try experimenting with different approaches to find what works best for you, and remember that seeking professional help from your GP, therapist or counsellor is always an option if you need additional support.

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