10 Must Try Stress Calmers


Stress Workshop

As you know my life’s work is helping others gain control of their overall health using whole food nutrition, exercise, stress management, and other lifestyle principles.

I occasionally will get clients that despite a nearly perfect diet and regular work out program, still struggle with health issues or just cannot lose weight. Usually there is a common thread in this case. Can you guess what it is?

You are right. Stress.

You have heard the topic talked about a ton in mainstream medicine. They talk about the need for relaxation and that we should get to a yoga class or meditate to lower our mental and emotional stress.

While this is true, much of the information leaves out yet another factor. There is a growing amount of evidence that stress has a bunch of physiological effects as well.

Why is this relevant to the health of our bodies?

Certain chemicals are released in a stressed state that causes fat cells to open and store fat instead of burn it.

Another study found that high stress hormone (cortisol) leads to “waist” gain. Even in slender women.

Stress can affect fertility by way of lowered progesterone. See, progesterone is used to make cortisol. When the need for cortisol goes up, guess where it comes from?

Stress has been known to shorten telomeres (telomeres are found at the ends of chromosomes. They protect our genetic data, make it possible for cells to divide, and hold some secrets to how we age and get cancer) leading to premature aging and the increased disease risk that accompanies it.

Chronic stress is shown to change gene activity of immune cells before they enter the bloodstream so the are ready to fight infection or trauma – even when there is nothing to fight. This leads to increased inflammation.

Some other conditions related to high stress:

  • Hair loss
  • Insomnia or restless sleep
  • Hormonal troubles
  • Skin issues
  • Slower healing from all illness or injury
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased incidence of heart disease and stroke
  • Headaches
  • Allergies
  • Blood sugar issues / diabetes risk

What is in your environment that can be causing stress?

  • Eating foods that your body is allergic, sensitive or intolerant to (you may not know that you have the intolerance)
  • Not sleeping enough
  • Insulin resistance
  • Environmental toxins
  • Hormone imbalance

How can you address these stressors?

Here are 10 Must Try Stress Calmers

Physical stress:

  • Eat a clean, completely un-processed diet. Find out what your intolerances or allergies are by way of elimination/provocation challenge or food sensitivity lab test.
  • Get to sleep early and make sure you get an uninterrupted sleep. I use the Brain Wave app bi urnal beats to help me out.
  • Make sure you exercise with weights, high intensity burst /sprints, but watch the chronic cardio that can be harmful to your body.
  • Catch a whiff of a natural scent, such as citrus or lavender. According to naturopath Michelle Schoffro Cook, natural scents increase oxygen flow to the brain, boosting energy, immune function and positive emotions.

Emotional Stress:

  • Try keeping a gratitude journal to focus on the positive, and making time to unwind.
  • Read up on tapping or EFT:
  • Even simple everyday acts like singing in the shower or crocheting a hat can help combat stress, increase self-esteem and improve your immune system.
  • Consider volunteering at a dog shelter or fostering orphaned cats. Doing volunteer work and petting animals are both activities that lower blood pressure and ease anxiety, so a combination of the two could be twice as effective at keeping your spirits high and your stress low.

Mental Stress:

  • Focus more on time management and organization rather that multi-tasking. If you need to set a timer or space in your work calendar, do it!
  • Gardening has long been considered a hobby that enhances emotional and physical well-being, and University of Bristol researchers may have finally discovered why: Soil contains a friendly bacterium called Mycobacterium vaccae, which increases the metabolism of serotonin in the brain, thereby improving mood, easing stress and promoting a strong immune system.

I wish you continued progress in your stress reduction.  If you have any interesting ways that work for you to reduce stress, please let me know!




Cat Dillon

This blog is my journal, where I share everything wellness. From tips on healthy lifestyle to creating as much deliciousness in your life as possible.

Cat Dillon is the Cat in Caterpillar Nutrition and Wellness.

Caterpillar Nutrition and Wellness is a unique combo of nutrition, fitness and cooking coaching all in one pretty package. Read more about Caterpillar Nutrition and Wellness.

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