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Stress is such an interesting topic to talk about these days. In clinic we see a lot of it, and its no wonder. Modern living and stress seem to go hand in hand and its no surprise that so many people are impacted by just day to day living!

Waking up to the alarm, driving in peak hour traffic, meeting work deadlines, paying bills, looking after and worrying about your kids, wondering what to make for dinner…..the list literally could go on!

It’s no wonder you can start to feel so overwhelmed that it seems everything else is taking over your life!

What’s interesting though is when people say they feel like they are on top of their stress, but present with symptoms such as:

  • Digestive issues
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Lack of libido
  • Fertility issues

And this is where I love this image above, these are the type of people that feel like they can handle their stress but look a little more carefully and the body is trying to tell you that its stressed out.

But the symptom list does not end there. Stress may also be contributing towards mood disorders (anger, depression, anxiety, loneliness), chronic fatigue and poor immune function. For some it may be a fuel for addictions to help a person “cope” with stress.
 

Stress – what is it really?

The mechanics of stress is that it is a biological and physiological response to a perceived threat to the body. It is essentially a protective mechanism designed to kick the body into the “fight or flight” mode.

Regardless of the perceived threat/trigger the biochemical reaction is exactly the same, adrenaline, cortisol and nor-adrenaline are released from the adrenal glands which enable you to either stand and fight or run as fast as you can.

The release of these chemicals helps your nervous system to become alert to the emergency. Your heart beats faster, your muscles tighten, blood pressure rises, you start to breath a but quicker and your senses become sharper. This is all in preparation for dealing that “danger”.

Your digestive system shuts down as does your immune system, as these systems do not need to be working optimally while you are dealing with the threat.

So when you consider what your average morning might look like, just simply waking to an alarm clock, getting you and your family ready for work, school drop off and driving to work…well…just these few hours would mean your heart is going like the clappers, your breathing will be shallow and your digestive system has shut down so have you taken on those nutrients at breakfast time?

And this is just getting yourself to work. Other more general stress triggers include:

  • Injury to the body (surgery, strain, wound healing)
  • Chronic illness
  • Emotional wellness
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Sudden traumatic events

The long term danger of being under constant stress is now known to fuel the stress mechanism further but also increase your risk of mental health conditions including anxiety, depression and post traumatic stress disorder as well as chronic health conditions such as cardiovascular disease.

Tools to help better handle stress

But let’s face it. We can’t avoid a lot of these triggers. Stress is an inevitable part of modern lifestyles, but it doesn’t need to get the better of you. There are some simple tools you can use to help support your body manage stress.

  • Exercise regularly – this helps to produce more endorphins, the brains feel good chemical messenger which help to not only support good mood but also help with sleep.
  • Get enough sleep – making sure you practice good sleep hygiene by not using a computer or other technological device at least an hour before bed. Avoid caffeine in the afternoons.
  • Eat healthy – eating a diet that is rich in wholefoods allows the body to get the right nutrients it needs from real A diet that is rich in protein, omega 3 and antioxidants as well micro nutrients will nourish your neurotransmitters.
  • Mediate or practice deep breathing – any technique that allows your whole body to slow down and gets your body to relax gives good support to the stress system including your brain.
  • Get on top of those health issues – if gut issues, poor immune function or anything else is getting in the way of or contributing towards stress then get some help this area. Let one of Mint’s Clinical Nutritionist’s give you some

Functional medicine gets to the root cause of your stress

As functional medicine practitioners our Clinical Nutritionists wont just put a band aid on what’s going on for you. We will take a deep look at your health history, your presenting symptoms and look at your ultimate health goals to work on how to improve your health as well as better handle stress.

As always, we will focus on food as being the foundation for your optimal health. Evidenced based supplements will be suggested depending your unique set of circumstances. We listen to you, and what it is that you need to support your health goals. We may also suggest you see another practitioner from a different modality of health to further support your whole-body health.

Our Clinical Nutritionists have up to date in depth knowledge when it comes to stress and the impact it has upon health with years of clinical experience in helping people of all walks of life deal with stress from children through to adults. So why don’t you book an appointment today! https://mintfit.co.nz/contact/