Even after so many years of my practice, I am yet to come across someone who says he or she is not stressed! And this is too alarming. Our lives have changed so drastically over the past few decades that stress has become synonymous with our routine!
And now the time has come to change this not-so-good scene.
The reason is simple. Being stressed out is going to make it harder for you to stay fit and maintain normal weight, and it’s also likely to take you much longer to keep inflammation in check and lose weight.
So, today, let’s get to the core of stress management by learning the basic principles of how stress is linked to inflammation and weight gain.
How Is Stress Linked To Inflammation
Stress can create a direct negative impact on your immune system, heart, nervous system, and your gut health via the gut-brain axis.
Being under chronic stress (the type that most of us have to deal with) increases inflammation due to which the regulatory functions of the immune system are undermined.
Chronic stress can also inhibit efficient digestion, and encourage the development of leaky gut and gut dysbiosis. Stress can also blunt your thyroid functions and cause insulin resistance. All of these are going to create havoc with your body’s metabolic processes causing the fat burning processes to go weaker. The natural consequence of this will be weight gain! Above all, chronic stress can impact your endocrine system by interfering with the activities of the hormones secreted by the brain and endocrine glands.
The disruptions in the levels of hormones, especially the stress hormone called cortisol and the feel-good hormones like dopamine and serotonin, can keep you under the dark clouds of negative thinking patterns. And once this happens, it will become too hard for you to avoid the inevitable depression and other stress-linked diseases.
Thus, stress can be a major factor contributing to chronic illnesses like diabetes, depression, obesity, cancer, hypothyroidism, and hyperthyroidism. When stress gets out of control, it can also worsen your prognosis even if you are receiving the best possible treatment for your condition.
Steps For Effective And Long-Term Stress Management
When it comes to stress management, two factors play a critical role and those are stress reduction and resilience. What does stress reduction mean? Let’s find out…
The Role Of Stress Reduction In Stress Management
Reducing stress involves identifying and removing things from your life that could be causing stress.
Sometimes, individual stress factors like job pressure and strained personal relations may not seem to create any noticeable impact on your emotional health on their own. However, the sheer number of these small factors, when combined, can be enough to cause immense stress and affect your health in numerous ways.
So, the idea is to not ignore even the smallest of factors and say ‘no’ to them, whenever you can.
Asking for help to reduce stress before your poor emotional health starts affecting your physical health and fitness is also essential.
There are several ways to reduce stress and it’s up to you to identify the stressors and figure out what works the best for you. So, the first step to stress management is stress reduction that begins with identifying your specific stressors and coming up with ways to avoid them.
If it is not possible for you to avoid the stressors, you can direct your efforts to minimize their impact on your emotional and physical health so that you can avoid the symptoms of inflammation caused due to it.
Take a look at everything you do or are exposed to and the impact it produces on your stress level. Determine how and where you can make changes, both small and big, to reduce stress. Think of ways to avoid the stressors or minimize their impact and work out a plan to implement those strategies.