How many of you have truly thought about what factors into stress? What exactly is stress? I am talking on a conceptual basis versus the actual hormone cascade as a response of stress.
Conceptually, stress has 3 basic categories.
Each can have massive impact on total stress load. Think about the last time you were in a lot of pain. How did you handle mental stress that day? Did you yell at your kids? Were you short with your spouse/coworker/family member/etc.? Did you get frustrated or even get a bit depressed? Odds are you didn’t handle those tasks with the grace you would have with no pain.
Movement is one of the most powerful ways to stimulate your brain. Research also shows exercise can help your body process cortisol more efficiently. On a conceptual basis, exercise burns up all that extra stress hormone floating around your body. It wears you out and puts the nervous energy to bed.
On a secondary note, pain and dysfunction increases cortisol. For example, if your hips are tight and you can’t and don’t sit in a squat position each day you are not stimulating your brain to its full potential. This is stressful to the body. Being tight, immobile, having arthritis and lack of structural health are all massive stressors.
This can be managed best with a skilled Applied Kinesiologist. They are well trained in muscle function and physical assessment. When treatment and preventative measures are applied correctly, they can have massive stress reducing properties. Every person should be able to sit in a low squat for 10 min a day. An overhead squat is the simplest test to make sure you ankles, knees, hips, back and shoulders have proper mobility.
This is what we commonly consider stress. This is the impact of debt, family strife, divorce, death, moving, etc. People nowadays even worry about things out of their control like politics or terrorism. Researchers studying PTSD found people watching the news about the Boston Bombing had a higher frequency of PTSD than people who were actually at the race. People who smelled and saw the aftermath had less depression than people watching on TV. This is the power of the brain and the sickness of the US Media Machine. If the current political climate is causing any stress at all, it is time for a news fast. STOP IT!
Some mental stress does require direct help. This can be in the form of therapy, nutrient intervention, exercise, relationships, meditation or simply breathing. I encourage many people to seek out someone to help them manage their emotional turmoil. Think of it as having a coach to guide you. It can be great.
This may be the most confusing part of the conceptual framework of stress. It requires a team to address and assess. It can be seen with the eyes pretty easily. Healthy, fit people of the right body composition and muscle mass typically handle the stress hormone cortisol with greater efficiency than obese, out of shape people. It is a simple fact.
Body fat distribution is hormone regulated, meaning where you place fat is controlled by how well your body is making, managing and processing hormones. Belly fat is related to stress. On the other side of this equation, stress can exacerbate other hormonal imbalances. Belly fat is highly stressful.
To get this checked, you must find a qualified functional medicine practitioner. One that understands how to maximize health, not simply treat disease with vitamins. At my office I wrote my own body composition system to assess hormone function, body composition, muscle and fat ratios, fluid health and many other parameters. True health and stress control takes lots of measures to ensure success.
Mental stress is NOT the only kind of stress you have. If you balance out your structural and biochemical health you have a fighting chance to beat mental stress. The human body has the ability to overcome almost anything. It is quite amazing.
We have a stress problem today and most of the stress impacting our health is avoidable and not in our control. It is time to eliminate useless stress and begin to balance your health.
Strategies to Tackle Stress and Win
Daily mobility and flexibility work. All it takes is 10 minutes a day. Stretch, roll out, sit in a squat, practice gymnastics or yoga. Get the joints moving and move them in their full range. It is that easy. 10 minutes a day.
Exercise and improve body composition. This is the easiest way to start reducing the impact of stress hormones and also improve the biochemical piece of stress.
See a Functional Medicine doctor. If you are around NYC and Fairfield County, CT, come see me. If you aren’t begin to look for someone who maximizes health and has a goal of improving the current state of medicine. Your functional medicine doctor must also be living the way you are striving to live. If they aren’t the fittest person in the room they are NOT the right person for you.
Fix your mental. That may be with therapy, ending bad relationships, beginning new healthy relationships, moving, quitting a toxic job, etc. End the useless stress. It may require a News Fast or simply throwing your TV out. Read more and be happy!