I realize this is not always an easy thing to do. Most of us are juggling way too much and going through the day at warp speed, trying to get more and more accomplished. By having a high-stress level, not only is it harmful to your health, it’s harmful to your waistline as well.
When you are constantly under stress, hormone levels, like cortisol and insulin are elevated. The elevation of these 2 hormones can sabotage your weight loss efforts and actually cause weight gain.
‘Feeling stressed can create a wide variety of physiological changes, such as impairing digestion, excretion of valuable nutrients, decreasing beneficial gut flora populations, decreasing your metabolism, and raising triglycerides, cholesterol, insulin, and cortisol levels.’ – Mercola.com
So, while you may think you can “handle it” as far as your stress level goes, we aren’t meant to be under constant stress, and it takes its toll. If you are doing everything right as far as diet and exercise but you’re under stress every day, you’re not going to see or feel the results you want.
Why Our Mind And Body Need Rest
Living is hard work. The thousands, even millions, of individual metabolic and assembly line style processes that our minds and bodies have to constantly go through, on both the micro and macroscopic levels, are simply exhausting. Therefore, we need to rest as much as we need H20 and glucose in order to function in even the most basic of ways. And when it comes to resting, merely sitting still on a fairly regular basis is not going to cut it in terms of satisfactorily relaxing our organs and their processes.
Rest that de-stresses the mind and body in terms of both muscular activity and thoughts alike, is what is truly necessary for us to recharge, rejuvenate, and be able to continue to work.
A lot of ventures in scientific research have been devoted to not only defining the term “rest” in relation to what the term means for the human mind and the human body, but that research has also had to explore figuring out what the changing standards of resting are, as people evolve, and times and environments change.
The speed at which our internal processes function is referred to as our metabolic rate, and obviously, there is a cyclical rhythm, similar to our circadian rhythm, that determines the energy at each metabolic stage. We expend calories both when we are active and when we are at rest, however, the calories that we save while resting end up being incredibly valuable in contributing to the energy that we need to expand while we are active.
What the resting requirements (and subsequent ways to perpetuate them) were for people who lived 10,000, 1,000, or even 100 years ago are different than they are today, and will most definitely be different in 10 years, primarily due to technology, increasingly demanding workloads and expectations, evolving schedules, and a world that never sleeps.
What we have learned so far about the correlation between states of rest and periods of activity, is that the substantive nature of what we do when we shut down, and how we achieve that so-called “turning off,” is tantamount to the quality of our activity when we are in motion.
Sleep, although absolutely a fundamental example of rest (in all of its varieties and definitions), is not the only way in which our physical and mental selves need to take a break, and we need to tend individually to both types of restful activities that heal our minds and the inactivity that rests our bodies.
For some, going on a solitary hike in a beautiful place will do wonders for relaxing the mind, (and actually, even though hiking is technically a potentially stressful physical activity, it can actually be restful to muscles if the activity itself relaxes the person), however, for others, who feel stressed out by outdoor activities and nature in general, a hike would only be annoying and stressful. It would be completely counterintuitive to achieving the goals of rest and relaxation.
We need other beneficial sessions of rest, at regular periodic intervals, in addition to the hours that we devote to sleeping, in order to make the best of our time when we are not “taking it easy.”
The modern world works equally as hard as its predecessor; however, we work harder and in far more different ways, thus requiring our rest to be equally as hard, effective, and versatile in its nowadays applications.
The type of rest that was effective and sufficient for a farmer in 1880 would obviously never apply realistically, and successfully, to a hedge funds manager in 2018, and vice versa.
However, humans are animals that are bound to the laws of nature and biology, regardless of the era in which we live, and resting our bodies, down to the cellular level, is equally as essential a process to the modern-day professional as it was to the first caveman.
Overcoming Adrenal Stress
If you’re like most people I know, you’re chronically stressed.
The problem is that stress puts your body in “fight or flight” mode. While short stints in this mode are fine…over the long haul, it wreaks havoc with your health.
Your adrenal system, which is responsible for producing critical hormones, bears the brunt.
Here are 5 warning signs your adrenals are stressed out and headed toward failure:
You’re having a hard time getting up even when you sleep a lot. Stress makes you alert, and permanent alertness makes it hard to sleep deeply.
You have a lack of enthusiasm and joy. When your adrenals get burned out, you don’t produce the hormones needed to increase focus and awareness. Instead, you feel apathetic and irritable.
You’ve gained weight. For some people, chronic stress triggers weight gain. It’s part of our body’s natural design to replenish energy stores after a dramatic “fight or flight” situation.
You have inflammation. When your adrenals become fatigued, they don’t produce enough cortisol, which controls inflammation in your body. Your immune system overreacts, leading to chronic inflammation.
You feel fatigued. You find it difficult to maintain any reasonable amount of energy throughout the day (though you may experience a “second wind” in the late evening).
If you’re suffering from any of these symptoms…You are in adrenal distress.
What are some ways you can reduce your stress level?
Here’s a short meditation to ease you into clearing stress.
Is there something you can start with this week to start destressing your life?