The Final Toxin: Stress

You knew this was coming. It’s our weekly discussion about how the way you live your life, and manage your stress impacts your health.

We have been talking about FOOD toxins over the last couple days but for some, stress may be the ultimate toxin. We have talked about this many times. Here and here.

Your body doesn’t distinguish between stressors. It can’t tell if the stress you are putting it under is supposed to be good for you or is not. All it sees is stress. Whether its squats, running, or a lack of sleep the night before. Stress on the body forces it to adapt. If that stress is above and beyond what your nutrition and rest habits support, it will fail at some point.

How do you solve the stress problem?
First thing you can do in the face of increasing stress is be AWARE of it. Knowing that stress is causing you to lose sleep or feel sluggish during the day will allow you to take steps to adjust your mind or your training.

Many of the signs and symptoms of over training or over reaching are mirrored in the emotional stress response. Things like elevated heart rate, disrupted sleep, out of sync cortisol rhythms, and poor mental clarity are symptoms of both physical over training AND high levels of emotional stress ( anyone have young children? I’ll be there soon.).

The next thing you want to do is determine what is causing the stress. Is it related to your training? Is it nutritional? Is it environmental? Is it emotional? Some of these are far easier than others to adjust. For example, if you have an unknown food sensitivity then your body is under stress and you should remove the food toxin causing you issues. If your training is excessive, then maybe it’s time to shift your goals.

Emotional stress is the toughest to deal with since it’s all internal stress. Which means it has been placed on you by you. Some traditional ways of managing this include appropriate exercise, yoga, meditation, tai chi. Many times it’s as simple as taking a ten minute break during the day to either close your eyes and breath or go for a walk in the sun. These little things seem insignificant but its amazing the huge impact such a small task can have. In fact, I challenge each of you to put down what you are doing and go outside for a 5-10 minute walk right NOW.

If you find that the things listed above do not provide complete relief from stress, there are some supplements that can help. Whether they allow your brain to function better or improve your cortisol rhythmes they are helpful to get you back into a less stressed mindset and move on with your life. I am not a doctor and will not prescribe anyone pills but we can certainly talk about how these things could help you if you are in need.

So, that wraps it up with the food toxin chapter. Has this information been helpful? What did you learn? What are you going to change?

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