In this post we’re going to talk about stress and why it’s important to understand and realize that stress can put on the brakes on everything that you’ve being doing well on up to this point.
If you are stressed, you can be eating right, sleeping right, training right, doing all the right things, but if your stress isn’t under control then you going to have problems with your results. When we look at stress as a whole, we can divide it into six different categories.
We’ve got Physical Stress, which is the stress we put on our actual physical body. Meaning stress through exercise or not enough exercise, working too much, being sick or we might even be injured. Physical stress that is put onto your body can be good and bad, we do need both. So exercise can be good and exercise can also be bad.
Be sure you’ve got the right ratio depending on how much energy you have and how much you can take. This is initially where we start. Exercises in Week 5 is where we started really getting into them, because we needed that four weeks of preparing and recovery to get everything set up and on the right track.
The chemicals in our food, what we put onto our skin and pollution are another type of stress. These things all add to the spectrum and generally if you have a diet that is pretty free of pesticides, then there is not a major worry here. If you use things like deodorants and some perfumes and products that contain toxins and heavy metals that soak into your body, then there is cause for chemical stress.
Electromagnetic Stress happens when being around TVs or other things that can cause electromagnetic pollution. There is good Electrometric Stress which can also become a problem. The good stress in that regard is like moonlight and sunlight. Due to their magnetic field on the earth, which helps things grow and live. Plants, animals, grass, trees, and sounds are essential, but in our modern world because we’re so busy with our computers and our phones and so on can be too much.
We have Mental Stress, which is the big one. Your mental outlook and mental health have a very big link between them. Here is a quick story about a previous client. She’s trying to lose weight, but didn’t get any results.
Her failure was because she didn’t do all these other steps correctly and was very reluctant to really get a hold of the process. Then she flipped out, had a bit of a melt down and just said, “I’m not doing any training”.
She went away from the program for a little while. After about a week off work and just totally resigning herself through that stress and that feeling, she ate KFC and junk food. Then she started feeling sorry for herself and she jumped on the scales. Keep in mind that she had just totally let go of all the pressure of trying to lose weight and changing her life, so it was just like a lot of weight that had been lifted off of her shoulders.
To reward herself she just fell back into old habits, but the key point is that the stress was removed from her life. She ate all these junk foods, jumped on the scales and she was actually five kilos lighter than when she was a week ago.
She rings me up on the phone and tells me “you’ll never believe what happened” and just couldn’t believe she was five kilos lighter. I could tell in her voice and her body that the stress that she was feeling was gone.
Nothing else had changed, she was eating crappy food and not looking after her body, but because that stress was gone her body it was just like thank you now I can relax. This is hugely important and very powerful to understand and recognize that if you are stressed, you’re not going to go anywhere in terms of weight loss. This is physiologically impossible.
Nutritional Stress can happen of course by an unhealthy diet. Eating good food versus bad food is pretty much self-explanatory.
Thermal Stress is just basically hot-cold, making sure you look after that respite. What your body does is it summates and adds all these stresses up into one big stressor. Your body doesn’t recognize that you are physically stressed today or that you’re going to be chemical stressed. It doesn’t work like that; your body summates into one big stress picture and then at the bottom is where stress weighs in.
Generally, what happens is if you weighed too much on the bad side or the good side, ideally, you want to be in balance. You want to have a good amount of bad because that singles off the good and then you have good balance. You don’t want to have the good all the time, but you need these things to keep you alert and active.
It’s all about balance. Most people are balanced onto the bad side with signs of fatigue, depression, anxiety, low energy levels, just feeling tired all the time, not a lot of growth, not a lot of repair. Not a lot of happiness, which is on your parasympathetic branch of your nervous system. So, that’s something to keep in mind with that.
What we’re going to do for Week 8 is download the exercise. Review the stresses and write out some of your top stresses and how they might be affecting you. Start by writing down your top three to five stresses and we will review some strategies on how you can overcome them.
You’ve identified your problem and stresses, now we are going to make a plan or a strategy to help to remove or minimize the stresses that you’re feeling. We come back to Week 4, about saying no and your mindset around this. Your barrier is your barrier to your stress as well. Let’s review particular strategies or instances where you have stressful situations and then how to obviously avoid them, so you’re not adding extra stress on your body.
You want to make a plan, for instance you’re stressed about work. What about work, are you stressed about? Is it deadlines? Is it you haven’t got enough time, you’re doing too much work? You just need to sit down and reflect on what this might be. You might need more hours to do a job or you might need to get someone in to help you or you might need to offload tasks.
You might need to have uncomfortable conversations with your boss. Are you prepared to take the burden off the stress of the situation onto yourself or is there a way that you can sort of brush it off or give it to someone else and not have to worry about it? Obviously, you’ve got responsibilities that you need to worry about, so it’s not going to be practical to get rid of everything. But there’s going to be some areas where you can tidy up and make some changes in that area particularly at work. Work stress can be such a huge problem for a lot of people.
Let’s look at play and relaxation. Do something that makes you happy at least once a week, maybe even twice a week. Do it more if you can, whether it’s catching up with a friend or watching a movie or chilling out, whatever it is, make sure you set aside time to do that activity. Some might enjoy doing some craft, maybe in the garden, playing a video game or anything. Whatever it is for you, try and take the time out, acknowledge that you are doing these for relaxing reasons and then this is going to help balance you with your stressful situations.
Nutrition is obviously a huge part of this. Yes, you are what you eat at the end of the day. If you eat nothing but crap food, you’re going to feel crappy and that’s going to affect your mental ability and your ability to deal with stress.
Whenever your diet starts to slip, the stress of the food affects your mental decisions and how you look at things, so you can’t be as productive as you should be. The way you want to be all the time is harder because you just can’t fight the chemical nature of your body. Making sure that you know how to identify your triggers, like there might be a particular food or something that you’re eating that is affecting you. So, make sure your nutrition is tip top and you won’t have to worry about stress too much.
Exercise is so great for stress management. A lot of people go to the gym after a big day of work and just sweat out the big work out or whatever they need to feel better. This is a good release, stress release and it is done it in a way that’s productive.
Exercise might not be the one for you; it might just be taking a bath or sitting down quietly reading a book. Anything that you need to do to move your body is going to help to leave you out that stress.
The physical stress is of big importance so we can have some good days. We just don’t want to have too much bad exercise, too much intensity or too much of a burden that’s going to make your stress level go up. So, exercise within your means and do what makes you feel happy and relaxed.
A mental exercise is to revisit your goals and think positively. Don’t just think positively for the sake of it. Give yourself reasons to be happy and look for positive things in situations and then make positive choices when it comes down to what you need to do.
To sum up there are good and bad stress. We need to balance all our stress to get results.