Are you stressed?

Stress is a frequent (and biologically somewhat necessary) component of all lives and comes from many, many sources. The stress itself is not normally known to cause disease or illness, but when the body is under chronic stress, the adrenal system becomes fatigued from pumping out cortisol and other stress hormones over and over again without having enough time to return to a normal state. This in turn causes hormonal imbalances and affects all other functions in the body including the immune system.

Finding a way to help your adrenal system can effectively help your body function better despite chronic stress. There are adrenal support supplements that are helpful, as is maintaining a regular eating and sleeping schedule (preferably getting to bed by 10-11 and sleeping until you wake up naturally, which should hopefully be about 8-9 hours).

It’s also important to look at the diet and stay away from foods that cause inflammation such as fried foods, alcohol, caffeine (especially late in the day), soda of all kinds, and added sugar (not what’s found in fruit). I realize keeping away from alcohol and caffeine are tough ones sometimes, but keep the alcohol to a minimum (and have lots of water), and try to avoid caffeine as the day progresses because it can disturb your sleep many hours after having it (it can take up to 6 hours for the body to metabolize just 1/2 of the caffeine you consume).

Exercise has the added benefit (aside from all the others) of helping your body to release hormones that can help balance out the excess stress hormones released during chronic stress. It also helps you to breath deeply which is very, very important. When we’re under stress, we tend to take shortened breaths. These shallow breaths can tighten muscles surrounding the chest, diaphragm and even the upper back. There can be incomplete supply of oxygen to possibly all organs in, further adding to the stress that the body is dealing with.

So, if you’re dealing with chronic stress (stress that has been going on for days, weeks and months) do all you can to give your body the nutrients, sleep and oxygen that it needs to fight it!

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