Do you know that how you do one thing is how you do everything, and some form of stress may be the cause?
If there is something going on with your health, chances are it’s also impacting the other big areas in your life. Including your relationships, connection to something greater, your thoughts, actions, your purpose or career, and maybe even your finances. Most likely, the culprit is stress.
There are four different ways in which people experience stress:
-Biologically & Chemically: in the processes of the body
-Mentally & Emotionally: through thoughts, beliefs, and feelings
-Spiritually: In connection to that which is greater
-Physically: In our muscular-skeletal system
Stress can cross into all areas of your life. Let’s look at how stress impacts the body explicitly.
- Increased cortisol production: Associated with weight gain (especially in the belly), inability to lose weight or gain muscle, and premature aging.
- Decreased nutrient absorption: Due to decreased digestive enzyme production; decreased bile flow from the gallbladder, as well as reduced oxygenation and gastrointestinal blood flow.
- Increased nutrient excretion: Stress increases the urinary excretion of calcium; magnesium; potassium; zinc; chromium; selenium; and various trace minerals.
- Decreased gut flora populations: Stress destroys healthy intestinal bacteria, which can lead to immune problems, skin disorders, nutrient deficiencies, and digestive distress.
- The decrease in thermic efficiency: Ability to burn calories is diminished.
- Increase in inflammation: The basis of many ailments, including brain and heart disease.
In a 2014 study, research by the American Psychological Association, American Institute of Stress cited that 77% of Americans experienced physical symptoms caused by stress, and 73% regularly experienced psychological symptoms caused by stress.
How can we reduce our stress, so we are no longer prematurely aging, gaining weight in our bellies, overeating, losing our hair, losing sleep, experiencing stomach issues, and feeling anxious all the time?
The first step is awareness. Are you experiencing any of the symptoms above? By no means am I advocating for you to skip the critical step of seeking support and assistance from a medical professional. However, I am suggesting that you do your research and start exploring your current habits.
Let’s apply these questions to your eating habits. You may also substitute alcohol, shopping, lashing out at our loved ones, procrastinating, overthinking, overexercising, smoking, or any other habit.
– What are you eating? Are you fueling your body with empty calories or nutrient-dense food?
– Who are you being while eating? Are you mindlessly eating while watching TV, eating in a hurry, or honoring when you are full?
– When are you eating? Are you eating after 7:00 pm?
– Why are you eating? Are you eating because you are starving or because you are worried, tired, anxious, or bored?
– Where are you eating? Are you eating on the run? Eating in your car, or as you are running out the door already late for work or your appointment?
– How are you eating? Are you barely chewing your food, or are you taking your time and savoring your meal?
These are all great questions to get you thinking about how you can start reducing stress in your life. It’s a big challenge to tackle. So why not start with your health and focus on one area at a time? Your health is your biggest asset and your most significant form of wealth.
A common question that regularly comes up in my coaching practice is, Who are you being in the moment?
You have the power to choose who you are in the moment. When you are eating in a stressed state, multitasking, or not chewing and taking full breaths, your body cannot properly digest your food. This fuels the stress response, which is the complete opposite of relaxation and the optimal state for assimilating nutrients and digestion.
Being able to step back and ask yourself these questions will help steer you into becoming a calmer version of yourself. You can process and digest your food, your thoughts, and what is happening in all areas of your life. From this place, you will be able to see patterns in the other areas of your life – because how you do one thing, is how you do everything!