• 2 Stressed 4 Success

    The literature and data on the connection between living a stressed out lifestyle and the immune system is expansive. Scientists have been investigating this link for a long time, and the implications of these studies show that stress can quite literally make us sick. We all juggle work, families, social lives, and the many daily stressors that bombard us everyday. Since we can’t pick and choose our stressors what we can do is to learn how to better cope—How you react and respond to stress in your life.

    Developing healthy coping mechanisms is the key to reducing the impact of stress on your health. As an integrative health coach, I advocate for what I call my Integrative Nutrition™ Plate.

    In short, it is a model which works from the outside, inward. If the outside of your plate is out of balance, the inside, your nutrition, will also be in shambles. We can’t be our best selves when we are too stressed, and thus too sick to function.

    Negative Impacts on Your Health

    I understand the impact of stress on the outside of the plate.  Your body can’t fight off toxins and infections as well when you are stressed. Studies have shown that highly stressed people have:

    • Sluggish immune systems
    • React less effectively to health challenges

    Stress signals our bodies to go into high gear, conserve energy, and slows the immune system.

    Fight or Flight

    Think: fight-or-flight. If there is something dangerous, our body needs to be alert and redirects our physical resources in order to survive.

    The problem with the stress that we face in our modern world, is that we aren’t staring down a predator or wild beast… we are staring down deadlines and relationship strain which leads to chronic stress.

    Do you see the issue? Stress signals our bodies to go into high gear, conserve energy, and slows the immune system. Over time chronic stress leads to low energy and a weakened immune system and this leave us open to dangerous pathogens which can make us sick.

    Managing Stress

    The sad part is that a lot of people develop or utilize unhealthy methods of stress relief such as smoking or drinking excessively, or binge-eating unhealthy foods. The challenge is developing healthy ways to manage stress.

    Here are a few solutions to help you create positive coping strategies:

    • Eating good nourishing meals each day is one of these useful stress management tools.
    • Studies have found that that minerals like calcium (which can be found in milk), and potassium (which can be found in bananas) have a calming effect on the body.
    • Steer clear of sugar and unhealthy fats, as well as well as excessive amounts. Many people start their day with a cup (or 3) of coffee. Excess amounts of caffeine can leave you feeling anxious and jittery, despite the short-lived boost it provides.
    • Get ample sleep. Establish a consistent sleep pattern. Disrupted sleep patterns by raising your cortisol through the roof, which leads to a weakened immune system.
    • Engaging social interaction with family and friends. A simple light hearted conversation can help reduce stress. The people around you can be great at helping you relieve stress through sound advice, or perhaps just wide-open ears.

    Using positive coping mechanisms is the best way to reduce stress. There are dangers to being overburdened by stress. Your body takes the biggest hit. Make sure to prioritize your health by minimizing the damage stress does to your body.

    Related Articles:

    Is Your Plate Too Full?

    The Three Stages of Stress

    Mindful Eating vs Mindless Eating