We take a closer look into steps from our recent blog, Stress - Cortisol and You focussing on some of the steps in some more detail. Here we explore the first two tips, eating well and exercise, how these help, what we should look for and helpful tips to help succeed in this eternal battle.
A crucial factor in our lives, that can be a struggle at times as our emotional state is often linked to decisions such as eating.
Had that tough day at work and come home in a terrible mood, who wants to spend 30-40 minutes cooking a nice meal when we have such options to relieve us of these duties right? Compare this to a fantastic day, things have gone great and we're happy as Larry, you know what I feel like eating something delicious what can I make?
Something as simple as this can have a big impact on our decisions, meaning getting our emotional drivers in the right lane can keep us on track.
Keep the body in balance, eating well means we get the vitamins and nutrients we need to keep our body in sync and our gut healthy. Gut health is a key factor in keeping our body and mind in line, as it accounts for around 80% of our immune system. A sure way to damage this is through a poor diet and high amounts of processed foods. So if we can keep a rich diet of 'proper' nutrient and vitamin packed foods, staying away from processed, nutrient sparse foods we contribute a long way to a healthy body and mind together.
Look for wholegrain alternatives, differ your snacks from high sugary treats to substitutes like nuts & fruit, buy 'clean' meat & fish like fillets instead of processed fakes.
Exercising in your limits
A common association with stress is body image & activity, with the lower adding onto our stress levels and raising our cortisol levels. The best way to combat this? Exercise, we weren't designed to sit around all day and not move.
Why exercise? It gets us up, moving, increases heart health, puts oxygen into our system, lowers the levels of cortisol and releases mood enhancing chemicals into the body's system. These mood enhancing chemical friends are our endorphins, the feel good neurotransmitters that creates a euphoria feeling, can modulate appetite and enhance our immune system all aiding the combat of stress.
Remember to start slow - if your just starting out we can't be trying to run marathons. Take it at your own pace no matter the exercise, push yourself in terms of intensity but avoid over exercising. Over exercising can lead to injury, exhaustion and in turn lead to decreased motivation to continue.
Find enjoyment in what you do - This can also apply to eating well, take these as new relationships in your life. Make sure your enjoying what you're doing to keep motivation high and stress levels low.
Strike a balanced routine - Keep that focus on enjoyment, but make sure you've got variation and progression in your regime. Have a balance of cardio, resistance training and stretching to keep things fresh, exciting and new while allowing for progression and ultimately improved health, wellbeing and body image.
Stress can come through any number of factors whether its external or internal, yet we have the tools and knowhow to win the war, all we have to do is take that step..