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Hiifitness
7th May 2021

Combat Stress, to transform your mind and body

People are always a little surprised when I talk about breathwork, personal environments, sleep & stress management 

I’m supposed to be the guy that “makes people do stuff until they get in shape

The truth is, it doesn’t work like that

At some point your mental & emotional health (invisible health) markers will become a frustrating glass ceiling

Small obstacles seem like monumental challenges you can’t get past

Changes to what you can see will be restricted by what you don’t

Restricted breath & high pulse rate? – Expect roadblocks doing cardio and likely more serious health issues related to low oxygen levels

Lack of self-belief ? – Forget lifting those heavy weights you need for strength gains and muscle definition

Stressed out ? – Expect neck ache and back pain to get you at some level and stop further progress

Don’t feel a purpose in life? – Expect everything to look grey and your lack of motivation to result in missed workouts and unrestrained eating

For a truly successful body transformation you need to get everything in flow.

Why do we experience stress? 

Stress is an inevitable part of being human. All of us experience stress
at some point in our lives. Some of us, however, are more easily stressed out than others. 

Your genetics, upbringing and experiences all impact your individual stress response.

It’s important at this point to add that stress is not a sign of weakness, nor something that you should feel embarrassed about. However it’s really important to understand why we experience stress, how it affects our health and what we can do to manage stress effectively. 

Stress can be broken into two categories: eustress, which is positive and distress, which is negative. 

Eustress (stress which is successfully managed) enables us to adapt easily – improving resilience and performance. 

Distress (stress which isn’t successfully managed) can negatively impact both your psychological and physical well-being.

In today’s fast-paced society, effective stress management is more important than ever before. 

Stress comes in many shapes and forms, and can be a result of your social relationships, home life, work, and a number of other overwhelming instances. 

1. Workplace stress
2. Difficulty sleeping
3. Daily household chores
4. Health concerns
5. Money and financial concerns 

Many of us are in a chronic state of stress, which causes symptoms such as irritability, agitation, anxiety, depression and insomnia. 

Which has damaging side effects such as: 

  • Headaches 
  • Heart problems (including increased risk of heart attacks) 
  • High blood pressure 
  • High blood sugar 
  • Indigestion 
  • Rapid breathing 
  • Sexual dysfunction 
  • Tense muscles 
  • Weak immune system 
  • Weight gain (especially belly fat)  due to raised cortisol & poor food choices 
  • Muscle weakness 
  • Fatigue 
  • Irritability 
  • Difficulty concentrating 

 

Four Simple Ways To Help Manage Stress effectively

  • Eating a healthy balanced diet 

This might seem very obvious, but eating a healthy balanced diet is vital for stress management. Limiting processed foods (which cause a spike in your blood sugar) helps to keep your mood stable throughout the day. You need a wide variety of whole foods (especially fruit and veggies) to ensure that you get all the macro and micronutrients necessary for good health. 

Omega-3 fatty acids are particularly helpful when it comes to reducing the symptoms of anxiety. 

Drinking green tea, especially Matcha, helps to increase serotonin (the “happy” chemical) levels. Green tea is also packed full of antioxidants, which help to fight disease. 

  • Sleep

Getting seven to eight hours of sleep per night plays a vital role in our ability to cope with stress in our daily lives. A good night’s sleep helps to reduce cortisol levels in your body. However, when you’re extremely stressed, your sleep is often interrupted and you can develop sleep disorders such as chronic insomnia – which can worsen the effects of stress.

Exercise helps ensure that you get a good night’s sleep

  • Exercise 

Exercise helps ensure that you get a good night’s sleep and also releases endorphins which takes the body into a feel-good mode and releases Serotonin. Low levels of Serotonin are linked to developing depression.
A boost in serotonin can mean everything when it comes to remaining motivated and feeling happy.

  • Mindfulness and meditation 

We often live in the future – playing out conversations in our heads and worrying about ‘ifs’ and ‘maybes’ – which often never come about. 

Mindfulness and meditation are two great ways to help reduce stress. Learning to be mindful and meditate is like learning any other skill – it takes practice. So, if you’re a beginner, don’t judge yourself too harshly if you’re battling to meditate for more than five or ten minutes. 

Mindfulness is about paying attention to the present moment. What can you see, smell, touch, taste and hear in your immediate environment? It’s one of the most popular forms of meditation. It’s an easily accessible way to start your meditation journey. 

Paying attention to the present helps you enjoy life more and understand yourself better.

Meditation doesn’t need to be any more complicated than deep breathing

The most common advice we give each other when someone is stressed or anxious, is “take a deep breath”. Why do we say this? Well, as it turns out, it’s scientifically great advice! 

You often hold your breath or take shallow breaths when you’re stressed, lifting mainly the chest and rib cage. Consciously shifting to slow, deep breaths which also move your diaphragm, is a quick way to break the stress cycle. This moves you away from a stress reaction to a relaxation response. 

TRY THIS SIMPLE BOX BREATH TECHNIQUE

Sit in a quiet space for 5-10 minutes and Concentrate on your breath. 

If your mind starts to wonder bring it back to your breath.

 

Breathe In for a count of 4 

hold for a count of 4

Breathe out for 4 

Hold for 4

 

If you battle to master this technique on your own, you can always turn to technology for some help! 

There are several Meditation Apps that you may find helpful

Calm and headspace are two of the best in our opinion.