What is Stress?
1. pressure or tension exerted on a material object.
2. a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.
When one thinks of stress, certain phrases may come to mind. “All this studying for the exam tomorrow is stressing me out!” or “I’ve been so stressed from work lately I haven’t been sleeping very well”. Certainly we all have our own unique examples when we are talking about stress. But this isn’t only limited to external events that we perceive as negative.
In fact stress isn’t always a bad thing, we actually want stress in our lives. Without the stress that comes from doing an intense exercise, our bodies wouldn’t be able to adapt to the physical challenge. Also think about stress that comes from challenging your mind and studying a difficult subject in school, we wouldn’t be able to learn and experience mental growth. So you can see how having stress in our life can keep us healthy and strong.
It’s when we experience too much stress to the point that our bodies aren’t able to handle it all, does it start to effect our health and make us sick! The body doesn’t know the difference between good stress and bad stress and because of that all stress is funneled together in our body and processed by our nervous system.
Imagine if you were being chased by a bear, your body would be in strict flight or fight mode. Activating the sympathetic nervous system which is in charge of releasing stress hormones, elevating the heart rate and blood pressure, while decreasing digestive function and the repair processes of the body. This is kind of how it is with a lot of people today, but instead of being chased by a bear, we are being stressed by due dates, financial woes, and relationship issues among others.
How to we overcome this defense mechanism that our body has in place and see effective fat loss? We are going to cover that, but first I think it’s important to cover all the types of different stresses.
6 Types of Stress?
1) PHYSICAL STRESS – In this form stress can be movement or exercise and the load it places on the body. A positive form of stress is when we use exercise as a way to condition the body which helps us develop an optimal metabolism. A negative stress is when we over-work ourselves and over exercise our bodies to the point where the ability to recover is reduced. Doing so frequently could lead to a weakened immune system, poor performance, and injury.
1) CHEMICAL STRESS – In this form stress can be movement or exercise and the load it places on the body. A positive form of stress is when we use exercise as a way to condition the body which helps us develop an optimal metabolism. A negative stress is when we over-work ourselves and over exercise our bodies to the point wheOur bodies our exposed to a myriad number of chemicals and chemical reactions daily. The positive include the organic chemicals that make up animal and plant foods in the form of proteins, fats, and fiber which are essential for survival. The chemical processes that take place in our bodies are also a requirement. The negative form comes from synthetic chemicals such as exposure to pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides. These chemicals can find their way into our drinking water and foods if we don’t pay close attention to where our food is sourced from.
3) ELECTROMAGNETIC STRESS – The best exposure you will get from electromagnetic stress is from the sun! Daily exposure to this stress helps keep the healthy rhythm of our sleep and wake cycles going as well as hormone balance. A couple of negative forms of stress include constant exposure to florescent light and electronic devices which give off extremely low frequency pollution.
4) MENTAL STRESS – I think therefore I am, or for some people it’s I think therefore I’m stressed! We touched on the positives of mental stress earlier, that is using your mind productively and over coming adversity to develop a health strong mind. It becomes negative only when someone focuses on the negative instead of their needs and wants in life. A stressed mind is one that is burdened with fears, doubts, and indecision.
5) NUTRITIONAL STRESS – Depending on what you choose to feed yourself (remember every meal is a choice), that will determine what kind of stress you will have. The positive stress of digesting, absorbing and utilizing nutrients, and eliminating foods builds a strong digestive track. We do this by eating right for our own bodies needs and eating a diet composed mostly of organic whole foods. The negative stress is when we either eat too much or eat foods that are highly processed and filled with with preservatives, additives, as well as the harmful chemicals we discussed earlier.
6) THERMAL STRESS – This is the form of stress you feel when you spend too long in the hot sun or too long in the freezing cold. Our thermoregulatory system is stressed when we respect the outdoor conditions and regulate our normal body temperature. There are benefits of exposing ourselves to the extreme sides (ice baths, saunas) but too long in one can produce negative results.
7 Ways to Reduce Your Stress
1) Identify your main stress – Instead of focusing on every stressor in your life, turn your attention to the biggest one. When you start to alleviate the main stress often what happens is the other stressors will begin to reduce as a result.
2) Walking – Walking should be part of everyone’s wellness plan. The benefits are powerful and you will help turn on your parasympathetic nervous system.
3) Eat good foods and stay hydrated – Your body can only handle stress and recover when it has the energy and nutrients available. In order to break down and metabolize stress hormones, make sure to eat right for your body type and drink a good quality water. Research that when the body is dehydrated, the level of internal stress will rise.
4) Get regular exercise – At least 10-20 of daily movement will increase the feel good chemicals, make your muscles and bones stronger, and lower your levels of stress.
5) Spend time in nature at least once a week – Nature is therapeutic, going on a hike or for a walk in the park can contribute significantly to your stress loss efforts.
6) Breath work – One of the best ways to manage stress is to practice deep belly breathing. This can be done anywhere, just try to get into a comfortable position.
7) Dancing / Singing / Music – Dancing, singung or putting on music that you enjoy and letting loose is an amazing way to empty your stress bucket.
I hope you learned a lot more about stress and how it can effect your body. If you are ready to learn more about the best techniques on lowering stress, losing weight, improving performance, and getting out of pain, I want you to send me a message on how you can get started today.-Ray Martinez