Regardless or whether you’re the top performer in your field or working two jobs, every one of us experiences stress in some way, shape or form. Here’s three ways to deal with stress.
It shows up so differently for each person, so I guess the best way to start is by figuring out what causes you stress?
We all have something, someone or some situation that causes us to feel anxious, worried or out of balance for one reason or another. If I asked you to to make a mental list of the sorts of thing that you find stressful you would come up with obvious answers. Your partner maybe? A family member or friend who’s negative? Or you might think of more abstract things like traffic jams, the gym at rush hour or work deadlines. You might even come up with things like not looking a certain way or comparing yourself to others as your main source of stress. There are two areas I had to deal with on a personal level.
Thinking about these people, situations or circumstance can trigger an automatic release of cortisol throughout our entire body. Has someone ever made you so mad or upset that even the thought of them sent blood running through your veins? That’s cortisol. Have you ever found your brain racing at 3am in the morning because you’re worried you won’t wake up or about the meeting the following day? Yeah, that’s cortisol showing up again. How about seeing that girl on Snapchat with incredible legs or the guy on Instagram that seems to be ripped 365 days of the year? That’s cortisol again.
Cortisol and fat loss
Cortisol is your body’s natural response to stress and it can be a good or a bad thing depending on when it’s released.
We can be pretty thankful for our body’s ability to make cortisol because if you needed to run away from a sabre tooth tiger thousands of years ago, you needed the instant energy cortisol produces. It’s our fight, flight or flee response.
It’s not these short bursts of stress that can ruin our sleep, energy or even your body’s ability burn fat or build muscle, it’s the chronic ‘always stressed out feeling’ that has the negative affect. Stress is the figurative death by a thousand cuts.
If you’ve been eating all the right foods, using good supplements, following a great training program and are still not seeing your body change; but you are stressed most of the time the lack of results might be caused by the sheer amount of cortisol that your body is releasing.
3 ways to deal with stress
Train, exercise or meditate
One of the things that has supported me more than anything else over the years is using training as my ‘disconnect’ from the world. Every single successful person that I’ve met uses some form of training, exercise or mediation regimen to help them disconnect and distress from life. How to do it? Next time you feel that feeling of stress coming on, take 20 minutes out and go for a light jog or walk. Try a HIIT home workout. Or take some time to breathe. I promise you’ll feel so much better after it. Factoring in twenty minutes at some stage in the day can work wonders for your stress levels.
Limit your time with negative people
Make a list of all the people who seem to be able to turn your good day into a bad day. Now make one of people who make you feel low on bad days. These people might be family, friends or work colleagues; it doesn’t matter. Once you know who they are you need to try and limit the amount of time you spend with them. About three years ago, I made a list of the three most negative people in my immediate surroundings and now walk out the room when they go off on one. If somebody is making your feel bad, you can move. You’re not a tree!
Add stress supplements
Assuming you’re not eating highly processed foods, additives, preservatives etc, which are all things that can send your body into a state of fight or flight, then there are certain supplements that can work great to reduce your stress levels.
Nowadays, nearly everyone is magnesium deficient. Refined/processed foods are stripped of their mineral, vitamin and fibre content. These are anti-nutrient foods because they actually steal magnesium in order to be metabolised. When consumed, they demand that we supplement with magnesium or we become increasingly deficient.
Dosage: Try taking 600-800mg a day but be careful as too much too soon can give you a stomach upset.
This in an inhibitory neurotransmitter, what your brain uses to shut itself down. It can dramatically calm you down when taken on an empty stomach.
Dosage: Start with 500mg during the day and this can go as high as 2,500mg (increasing the dosage slowly).
Brian Keane is an online fitness trainer and the owner of Brian Keane Fitness, a company that serves thousands of people each year through its online fitness programs. Brian works with high performing GAA club and county players; helping them improve their sporting performance whilst building the body they want.