If you’ve read my blog post on Hair Loss, you’ll know that it was a stressful summer for me. Summer is meant to be carefree and light, but sometimes things just don’t go according to plan.
Everyone knows how important it is to manage stress effectively, but what does that really mean? There are many techniques one can use for stress management, but finding the one that works for you is the key to success here.
The effects of stress on the body can cause many short and long term illnesses and diseases; ranging from insomnia, to high-blood pressure, to gallbladder attacks, to missed days of work…the list goes on.1
It is important to know that there is more than one kind of stress. It is also important to know that stress is considered anything that your body perceives as stressful. So, for example, I might consider something to be stressful, but someone else may be able to take that same situation in stride.
According to the American Psychological Association, there are 3 kinds of stress:
- Acute stress
- Chronic stress
- Episodic acute stress
There is also stress that is created in the body, which many people don’t think about as a source of stress – and that is the kind of stress the body experiences when one suffers from food allergies, or roller-coaster blood glucose levels, for example. These stressors increase cortisol in the body the same way that driving in rush hour traffic can.
Regardless of the source, how can we find ways to deal with our stress in a healthy way? There are a few natural options to consider for reducing stress, which will benefit you in the long run too.
First and foremost, make sure you’ve got your nutrition dialled in! Eating your leafy greens is not only good for providing anti-oxidants and fibre, but also for supplying your body with magnesium. Healthy whole grains, if you eat them, supply you with vitamin B (even gluten-free whole grains), and magnesium too. In times of high stress, your body burns through these nutrients like jet-fuel, so do yourself a favour and eat them daily to help combat stress better.
If you can’t get these nutrients in your diet everyday, at least get them via professional quality supplements, such as a multi-vitamin, for example. I recommend people take these anyways, because when you are under a lot of stress your levels of stomach acid (HCl) go down, so you have more difficulty absorbing the nutrients from what you are eating, no matter how wonderful your diet. Supplementing with a high quality digestive enzyme that contains HCl* can also help you break down and absorb nutrients from your food better.2
In terms of lifestyle habits to combat stress; yoga, meditation and exercise are all excellent ways to help your body fight the effects of stress. Simply getting outside for a walk will help tremendously! You can also try meditation and stress management tools like HeartMath’s products, which are designed to enhance health and well-being.
One of my new favourite ways of dealing with stress is going for meditation float sessions in a float tank! For those of you who are unfamiliar with float tanks, the benefits are numerous3 and the experience is just down-right blissful. I prefer an open tank myself; however, there are many that prefer the complete sensory deprivation experience of a closed tank. Whatever tank style floats your boat (pun intended), this self-care ritual allows you to completely escape the demands of everyday stress from our fast-paced world.4
I experience my float sessions at One Love Float here in Calgary, which is a groovin’ location with a totally awesome vibe! With 1 open and 1 closed tank, float times are in hot demand, so book early because this place is popular.
*Assumes that you do not have HIGH levels of HCl, which is rare. To test yourself, try these techniques!