Stress sucks, let’s be honest.
There’s really no need to sugarcoat that statement. Living with high levels of stress sucks the life out of you, drains your energy, makes you gain unhealthy weight, and crushes your performance. It just sucks.
Sadly, most of us don’t even recognize stress as the cause of our health issues, and we tend to shrug it off. Heck, we even glorify it! It’s commonplace these days to boast stress levels, as if they were an indicator of success. “I’m soooooo busy. My workload is just crazy, I don’t even have time to read a book.”
Newsflash: That’s not cool.
Your epic stress levels aren’t impressing anyone, and it’s time that you address your stress before it crushes you.
Today I’m revealing some of the most silent and sinister impacts of stress that might be affecting you (without you even knowing it) and I’ll show you quick tips to start blasting stress out of your life, quickly.
1) Blood sugar regulation
Under stressful conditions, your stress hormone, cortisol, is responsible for providing your system with an immediate source of fuel, which is sugar. Amazingly, you don’t even have to eat sugar for your body to flood your bloodstream with it. Your system literally MAKES it’s own sugar in stressful situations – it’s actually quite brilliant. This sugar delivery system was designed as our primal defense mechanism to help us flee or fight a potential danger, which was great back in the paleolithic days when humans were not at the top of the food chain.
Fast forward a few million years to modern day, and here we are, more stressed than ever, but never actually needing this immediate survival energy source, for two reasons. 1: we’re not being chased by saber-tooth tigers or other predators on a regular basis, and 2: we have constant access to food, and we already have plenty of circulating energy in our systems. Not only do we have energy (sugar) in our blood stream from living with a carb-heavy diet, but anyone who is overweight is literally walking around with a buffet of energy on their bodies, in the form of their fat cells.
Purely from a fat loss point of view, think about it from another perspective.
Look down at your belly. Notice how there are fat cells there, maybe lots of them. Well, these fat cells are loaded with energy. Your fat cells WANT to be used. They want to go! But as long as you have stress building up in your body, and you don’t have a management system to get it out, your blood will constantly be filled with sugar, which means that your blood is always filled with an energy supply. So, now ask yourself this: “If I have a constant supply of energy in my blood, when will I ever have the chance to access the stored energy in my fat cells?”
The answer: YOU WON’T!
The Belly Fat Fact: If you live with high levels of stress and you have stubborn belly fat that just won’t go, THERE IS NO ABDOMINAL EXERCISE IN THE WORLD that will give you a flatter stomach. You can’t crunch it off, and you can’t twist or side-bend it away. If your system is chronically stressed, your stomach fat is literally “locked” and is being controlled by a hormonal abnormality, and no amount of sit-ups or ab exercises will get rid of it. You need to address the stress, balance your hormones, and THEN you can finally burn off that business belly!
2) Cognitive Abilities
Have you ever noticed that you are highly stressed, you have poor memory retention or find yourself unable to focus? It’s not just distraction, your brain is chemically unable to be sharp thinking when stress is elevated. In reaction to chronic stress, the area of our brain responsible for memory and other cognitive functions is inundated with the effects of Cortisol. Consistently elevated Cortisol levels not only affects your regular brain function, but over time, can it lead to a weakening of brain cells and reduce your capacity to think clearly or access memory sharply. In fact, chronic stress can even be linked to Alzheimers and dementia…
One of the most powerful ways to reverse the negative effects of stress and enhance our system is to become stress-protective, but for this we need the appropriate nutrients that fuel our brain and enhance our neurotransmitters, which is our “happy hormones.”
Brain Boosting Health Hack: Healthy fats, such as coconut oil, avocado, egg yokes, wild-caught ocean fish, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts (just to name a few) are all brain boosting super fats that have the ability to enhance your cognitive function. By adding any of these foods to your daily diet, you put yourself in a strong position to power through your day with more clarity, confidence, and ultimately, more intellectual aptitude, as these foods provide your neurological system with the fuel it needs to operate at its peak.
You can take your brain enhancement one step further and take a very special plant extract called Rhodiola Rosea, which is an arctic plant that the Vikings used to protect themselves against the stress of battle and intense winters. In fact, the Sherpa people still use Rhodiola today to help them climb Mt Everest…. read more about the incredible brain-boosting Rhodiola here!
3) Heart Health
In 2015, the British Medical Journal published a study that proved a direct correlation between chronic stress and coronary heart disease. Innumerable studies in the past decade have revealed that stress can lead to high blood pressure, which strains the heart and puts you at risk for heart attacks and stoke. Stress can also lead to unhealthy behavioural patterns that affect the heart, such as excessive drinking, smoking, overeating, taking a cocktail of prescription medications, and physical inactivity. How you deal with stress is extremely important when it comes to managing your physical and mental health. Unfortunately, most people tend to use destructive rather than productive coping mechanisms, which furthers the dangers of stress.
But don’t let this stress you out- it’s not all “doom and gloom.” There are many things you can do to minimize stress and prevent Cortisol-related disease. Daily meditation or “Me Time” can help us relax and unwind. Time spent outdoors in nature is particularly effective at reducing cortisol levels and triggering our “happy hormones”, and the act of being outside not only helps to sooth from an emotional point of view, but being outdoors also gives you the chance to replenish your natural Vitamin D levels from the sunlight, which is essential to the health of your brain and nervous system.
Don’t just sit back and let stress suck the life out of you or make you feel like you’re living under crushing pressure. Take charge, control your blood sugar, boost your brain power, and spend more time outside, and soon you’ll see that you CAN become stronger than stress.