08 Oct 5 Tips to Ease the Pressure & Stress in your life
Tip 1 – Eat to keep your blood sugar balanced
This is one of the most overlooked causes of stress because having a high or low blood sugar level adds to your stress!
How? Your body wants to keep everything in your blood within a very narrow normal range. Having a low blood sugar because you’ve skipped meals, haven’t eaten a proper meal or because you’ve had a blood sugar spike and crash causes your stress hormones to rise.
Your body and brain are so adapted to burning sugar (unless you’re following a paleo-style diet) and when it drops your brain can’t function properly without that sugar for fuel. This causes you to feel stressed, agitated, irritable, anxious and not able to think clearly. You’ll have a very strong drive to get your blood sugar level up as quickly as possible and you’re no doubt going to crave a stimulant like cigarettes, caffeine (coffee or energy drinks) or something sweet. Giving in to these will perpetuate the blood sugar rollercoaster ride and add more stress and anxiety into your day.
Eating sugar and other processed carbohydrates causes your blood sugar to rise outside its normal range and also spikes your stress hormone cortisol.
Having a high level of cortisol from the perpetual blood sugar roller coaster ride all day every day will not only make you feel stressed and anxious but will negatively affect your health in many different ways. It’s also guaranteed to cause weight gain which again adds to stress and anxiety from both an emotional and physiological perspective.
How do you balance your blood sugar level? Firstly eliminate processed carbohydrates which include sugar and processed grain products especially. Eat 3 meals a day and incorporate a good serving of organic protein like lean meat, fish, chicken, turkey, eggs or a pea protein powder into your meal or snack. Add in some healthy fat like coconut oil for cooking, avocado or avocado or olive oil on your salad. Include some healthy slow digesting carbohydrate like pumpkin, sweet potato, quinoa or legumes and pile up the rest of your plate with leafy greens and bright coloured veggies.
Tip 2 Get Adequate Sleep
It seems obvious yet sleep deprivation is rife today. Again, sleep deprivation causes your stress hormone cortisol to rise and increase your overall stress and anxiety.
Getting enough sleep every night will help to keep your stress hormones lower. As a result you’ll feel happier, healthier, more energetic and alive.
Track your sleep using a Fitbit or similar device and aim to be asleep before 10 pm and get 8 hours sleep every night.
Tip 3 Have a Daily De-stress Routine
Find what relaxes you and create a daily routine that includes it. About 40% of what we do every day is unconscious behaviour – habits and routines. Creating routines and habits makes it much easier to do something without consciously having to think about it or wasting precious energy on making decisions.
Allowing your brain to switch off completely for just 10 minutes twice a day can have a significant impact on your stress level so find something you can do to create that “off time” – it could be listening to a guided meditation or hypnosis recording, relaxing music, walking along the beach, going for a swim or surf, walking the dog or something else.
Practice your new routine or habit for at least 30 days and it will become a natural and automatic behaviour.
While hypnosis recordings can be very beneficial they are quite general. If you have a specific issue that’s causing you a lot of stress then having one on one sessions with a hypnotherapist may be far more effective in helping you to change your reaction to that problem.
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a simple, yet effective technique for issues that are causing stress of any kind in your life. The best way to learn is to find a practitioner who does EFT as you will usually get better results but you can teach yourself – there are many videos online that you can use but www.emofree.com is a great place to start.
Tip 4 Quit Trying to be Perfect
Trying to be perfect is creating enormous pressure both on yourself and in your life. You probably wouldn’t put that pressure on your family or friends so stop doing it to yourself!
Much of wanting everything perfect comes from childhood when we’re made to not feel good enough. Accept that you are good enough and simply do your reasonable best. Everything is never going to be under your complete control so learning to let go will help you to feel lighter and happier.
If you struggle with perfectionism hypnosis is a great way to change your perception about things.
Tip 5 – Get Tested
A common gene abnormality could be causing you to feel more stressed and anxious and may increase your risk of other health conditions like cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, infertility and even cancer.
This gene abnormality affects how well your cells can convert the inactive form of folic acid into the active form your cells need for many biochemical reactions. Depending on which combination you inherited from your parents determines the impact this has on your health.
The test is called MTHFR gene polymorphism and it’s best to have both the C677T and A1298C variants tested. The cost of the test is covered by Medicare if you have a history of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or lung clot, or you have a family member with the abnormality.
If your doctor is reluctant to request the test you can get it done at your own cost of approximately $80 through a naturopath or integrative medicine doctor. You only need to have it done once in your lifetime, so it is well worth the investment.
Should you have the defect it can be overcome through nutritional supplements. A form of activated folic acid is needed together with a few other nutrients. These do not have side-effects and are not addictive like anti-anxiety medications.