Regardless or whether you’re the top performer in your field or working two jobs to put enough food on the table (its relative), every one of us has to deal with stress in some way, shape or form.
As it shows up so differently for each person, I guess the best question to open with is ‘what cause 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; no doubt you would immediately come up with some obvious examples- a partner, family member or friends who are always being 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 stressors (two areas I had to deal with personally).
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 three am in the morning because you are worried you wont wake up from your alarm or about the meeting the following day- yeah, cortisol showing up again. How about seeing that girl on snapchat with incredible legs or a big bum 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 that instant energy that cortisol produces by engaging 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’t that can have such a negative affect. Stress is the figurative ‘death by a thousand cuts’.
If you have been eating all the right foods, using good supplements and following a great training program and still are not seeing your body change; but you are stressed most of the time (or several times through the day) it can be from the sheer amount of cortisol that your body is releasing.
Three Ways to Hack 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 (my subjective version of success) that I’ve met has 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 twenty minutes and go for a light jog or walk, or try a HIIT home workout (check out my Facebook live workout on Monday for example). I promise you will feel so much better after it. Factoring in twenty minutes at some stage in the day can work wonders for your stress levels.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ – Benjamin Franklin
Limit Your Time With Negative People
If you make a list of all the people who seem to be able to turn your good day into a bad day, or on days you feel low, they make you feel even lower. These people might be family, friends or work colleagues; it doesn’t matter – 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 surrounding (the ones I cant ‘cut’ out of my life) and have literally walked out the room when they go off on one. if somebody is making your feel bad, you can move, you’re not a tree!
“Some people are so negative that they can walk into a dark room and start to develop” – Les Brown
Add Stress Supplements
Assuming you’re not eating highly processed foods, additives, preservatives etc. – all things that can send your body into a state of fight or flight (check out the podcast episode on ‘How To Deal With Anxiety’) 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 thirty minutes in the morning 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 taking on an empty stomach.
Dosage: start with 500mg during the day and this can go as high as 2,500mg (incrementing the dose).
Hopefully this helps