Stress. No big surprises here!

We’ve all lived it…..that cold sore, sore throat or flu after a big stress challenge.

Many of my autoimmune condition clients have noticed their health declining during a stressful life event.

Research has confirmed this stress-autoimmune connection. A 2001 study found that autoimmune thyroid patients had more stressful life events before their diagnosis compared to control groups. And a 2012 study published in Psychosomatic Medicine found that childhood traumatic stress increased the likelihood of being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease later in life.

Undeniably chronic stress is deeply ingrained and entrenched in our busy, modern world. Few escape it.

In fact, if you looked around at most of the population, you’d think that being stressed, anxious, depressed, irritable, addicted to caffeine and craving salty or sugary foods was normal human behaviour. But just because something is common doesn’t make it normal.

A recent Harvard and Stanford study suggests that work-related stress is as detrimental to your health as secondhand smoke!

Did you know over 75% doctor’s visits are stress related, yet only 3% doctor’s visits include a discussion on how to reduce stress?

Time to take stress seriously?

Everybody feels stress but few take it seriously to understand the threat it has on our health, our joy and our life expectancy. Even our doctors treat it like it’s an afterthought. I mean they’re good at treating symptoms but they can miss the mark when it comes to lifestyle choices that can cause those symptoms.

I think we’ve got it all backwards, stress is the first thing we need to address if we want to feel our best. It’s at the heart of our autoimmune diseases, general unwellness, food cravings, addictions to stimulants, slow metabolism, hormonal issues, emotional highs and lows and fatigue. And while this may sound like common sense, it’s certainly not common practice, which is why we’ve got to address it.

What is stress?

Well to our bodies, stress is another way of saying fight or flight. It’s our ability to get up and go when a lion’s chasing us. Does it come in handy from time to time? It sure does. But in today’s busy world we’re in a constant state of panic and it’s killing us.

Let me explain how it works on a biological level so you can understand it a little better. The hormone cortisol is responsible for making glucose, so sugar is on demand and delivered to our muscles as quickly as possible.

You probably remember the crackling rush of energy that courses through your body when you’re startled. Well, that’s a surge of cortisol saying OMG, pump out the glucose pronto because we need to get the heck out of here.

Now living with stress day in, day out puts us on a cortisol rollercoaster and as you can imagine this reeks havoc on your energy and your body, but just as we have a stress response, we also have a relaxation response and tapping into that response can be a powerful tool in training our bodies to handle stress better and activate your body’s natural self-healing.

Action: Let’s tap into that relaxation response now. Shut your eyes, take deep breathe in through your nose (belly inflates), hold it, then exhale slowly through your mouth. Now do this for 10 breaths. Simple right. I always feel better after 10 rounds, but you can do it for as long or little as you need.

Remember it’s the little things that matter. Simple daily practices add up over time, like not checking your mobile phone first thing in morning or right before bed, getting enough rest, making room for play, graciously bowing out of obligations that drain you.

Practicing stress management is a big part of restoring your energy and creating that healthy abundant life you want. Let’s dial down the stress in your life.

Here’s 10 more de-stressing practices to get you inspired:

  1. Meditation
  2. Creative expression
  3. Playing with animals
  4. Spending time with those you love
  5. Walking in nature
  6. Sex
  7. Dancing
  8. Napping
  9. Prayer
  10. Listening to calming music

What should you do now?

Schedule those de-stressing practices in and get started today! There’ll never be a perfect or a right time. Start somewhere and improve over time.

Need help to get started and create a road map for dialling down the stress in your life whilst addressing your current health issues, book here.

Loads of health and happiness, Julie XX