Welcome to Week 9 of 52 Healthy Habits 2021 Edition!
How are you doing on your healthy habits? Don't worry if you aren't ready to move on to this week's habit. Stick with the habit that you really need to keep working on until it becomes a habit.
There are different types of stress and sometimes it can actually be good for us, but when we have chronic stress that's when it turns bad and can create dangerous health problems.
Stress requires so much energy that the body puts all other things hold. You stop repairing your tissue. You stop renewing your cells. When you have chronic stress from worrying about money, health of loved ones, politics, climate change, job stress, your body can never fully focus on healing your body and doing normal body functions that keep us healthy and strong.
Chronic stress kicks our natural energy distribution out of balance.
Let’s say you are stressed over the course of three months. That means your immune system will steal energy from other systems for three months to feed your innate survival fight-or-flight response. All so that it has enough fuel to feed your muscles, heart and breathing until you ‘escape’ your stressor.
There’ll be no energy left for other essential systems – such as your digestion and reproduction – which is why chronic stress leaves you to feel irritable, forgetful, overwhelmed, isolated and sleep deprived.
Top Tips to Stop Stress before it Starts:
1. Identify your stressors: write down all the things that stress you out during the day. Seeing what is actually stressing you out, might help you eliminate that stressor.
2. Acknowledge your stress: ignoring the problem will only make it worse. Acknowledge that you are stressed and find ways to calm yourself. Accepting the feeling that you are stressed will actually help activate the body's natural relaxation response.
3. Learn relaxation techniques to help you deal with your stress: Deep belly breathing is a great relaxation technique to help you relax and stop stressing. Yoga, meditation, dancing to your favorite song, or going for a walk outside can also be great relaxation techniques to help you deal with your stress.
4. Think positively: Positive thoughts really is a great way to stop stress before it starts. Tell yourself "I will get through this" or "I'm happy, healthy & strong". Positive affirmations are a great way to tell your body that it's not stressed and it will start to relax. Dwelling on negative emotions only pushes us further into sadness and despair.
5. Exercise: Maintaining a regular (healthy, non-obsessive) exercise routine has been proven to reduce stress, improve mood, enhance self-esteem, and increase energy levels. During exercise, the body releases chemicals called endorphins which interact with receptors in the brain to causing euphoric feelings and reduction in physical pain.
6. Get enough sleep: A study from the University of Pennsylvania showed that losing just a few hours of sleep increases feelings of stress, anger, sadness, and exhaustion.
7. Natural Supplementation: Adaptogens get their names from the adaptive properties the plants exhibit in nature, meaning the plants respond and adapt well to stressful environmental conditions, making them hardier and stronger. Fortunately, these herbs have the same effect on us. Adaptogens like Ashwagandha and Holy Basil can help to improve your stress response and mitigate the negative impact stress has on your immune system. As a result, these adaptogens help restore balance to your entire body. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can also contribute to stress.
- Ashwagandha is a calming adaptogen that supports healthy adrenal function. It is often used to relieve anxiety and fatigue, and to help balance the immune system by reducing cortisol levels. During one randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving 64 people with a history of chronic stress, those taking ashwagandha twice a day for 60 days showed significantly reduced stress-assessment scores. Serum cortisol levels were also substantially lower and more normal in the ashwagandha group compared to those in the placebo group.
- Holy basil is commonly used to reduce the effects of stress while improving memory. But more recent studies show that it also contributes to a healthy immune response, thanks to the active constituent eugenol. It’s so powerful, holy basil has even demonstrated antimicrobial effects against Streptococcus mutans, the pathogen responsible for tooth and gum disease.
- Vitamin B complex Low energy and fatigue can contribute to irritability and stress levels. This is why the B vitamins, which are well-known for keeping energy levels high and improving cognitive performance, can have a positive effect. Clinical data suggests that supplementing with a vitamin B complex can help keep your energy high and stress low. Clinical trials have also shown that supplementing with a vitamin B complex can help reduce “personal strain,” and depressed feelings when in high stress situations. In essence, it supports a feeling of calm and stability. If you want to be more relaxed (and focused!) under strain and pressure, supplementing with a B complex could be a major help.
- Magnesium is a mineral that is essential for muscle and nerve function. Multiple studies have shown that magnesium is especially crucial for sleep, with supplementation helping in this regard. A 2012 study published by the National Institute of Health demonstrated that supplementing with magnesium improves sleep quality. As mentioned, sleeplessness and stress go hand-in-hand. We all know the struggle and frustration of tossing and turning in bed all night. If that is something you struggle with, magnesium is worth consideration.
8. Stop Eating Stress-Inducing Foods: “If you eat inflammatory foods every day, and your body is consistently low in the essential nutrients it needs, then it’s only a matter of time until the stress wins out and something in your body breaks,” says Peter Glidden, ND. To optimize health, Glidden suggests eliminating foods such as wheat, barley, rye, oats, well-done red meat, meat with added nitrates, the skins of baked potatoes, and genetically modified corn or soy.
What causes you stress and what have you found works to help you deal with it? Share your tips in our Facebook Group!
This week's email is sponsored by the following.**This email contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.
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P.S. Don't forget to share in our Facebook Group
P.S.S. Did you know that it actually takes an average of 66 days to form a habit (not the social media 21 days statistic) and some habits take even longer! There was a study done for 84 days and the quickest forming habit did only take 20 days, which was drinking a glass of water after getting up, but other habits like eating a piece of fruit with lunch took twice as long; and the habit of 50 sit-ups after morning coffee was a habit that one participant couldn't form even after 84 days. Walking for 10 minutes after breakfast turned into a habit for another participant after 50 days.
Previous Healthy Habits:
Week 1: Drink Your Water!
Week 2: Half Your Plate=Veggies
Week 3: Move Your Body
Week 4: Sleep Deprivation
Week 5: Home-Cooked Meals
Week 6: Take Time for Yourself
Week 7: Ditch the Junk
Week 8: Belly Breathing