We’re in the middle of our Healthy Entrepreneur series and today I want to talk to you about stress. (The power of sleep is the first of our Healthy Entrepreneur series). Now, you might be doing an eye roll, thinking: “Oh man who isn’t stressed?!” I want to talk to you about the importance of managing stress and share with you some of my favorite skills to manage your stress.
Why Stress Is Bad for You
Let’s just talk about the negative impact of stress. Our body’s ability to manage stress and adapt to stressful situations is super important. Stress used to be a survival mechanism. As we evolved it went from being the matter of life and death to being this constant humming in our lives. Today, stress is kind of low-level and never-ending.
But, what is stress doing to your body? When we go into a stressful state, our body is saying: “Okay, we need to prioritize staying alive right now.” So it shuts down certain bodily functions so that it can focus on other functions, and two of the functions that stress directly negatively impacts are our digestion and reproduction. If you are in a constant state of stress, it’s impacting
- your overall health
- your weight
- your nutrient absorption
- your digestion
- as well as your hormones
For example, our adrenals are what regulate cortisol and our body is constantly squirting out cortisol every time we’re stressed out about something. If you’re not actively managing your stress, it is 100% negatively impacting your overall health. Our ability to manage our own stress is an inside job and it has to be a deliberate and consistent practice.
How to Manage Stress
Here are some tips on how to better manage your stress:
1) Have a mindfulness meditation practice. When left to their own devices, our brains are monkey brains that just run and run. All your brain will do is keep bringing you back to the past or bringing you to the future; regretting the past, worrying about the future. So, it’s important that we do the internal work to understand how our brains are wired, and to notice when we are having unproductive and unhealthy thoughts. Being able to stop those thoughts and choose new ones is one of the most important skills you can learn as a human being. If we cannot get in control of our own mind, our mind is running the show, and our minds left on autopilot are crazy. Two books that I highly recommend are A New Earth and The Power of Now, both by Eckhart Tolle. I can also suggest the Calm app and Insight Timer, both are meditation, and mindfulness apps.
2) Physical movement. Physical movement has been shown to be as effective as medication in improving people’s moods. Getting out for regular walks and moving your body in any way is key. I’m a huge fan of exercise because it changes my mood instantly. Movement is the first thing to do and if you’re super sedentary, and you’re not getting outside and moving around, your stress levels are going to increase.
3) Your diet and gut health. As embryos are first forming inside the mother’s body, the brain and the gut are actually the same thing and then they separate. So, when they talk about the gut as the second brain, it’s true. Our brain and our gut are absolutely connected. When our gut health is off, it impacts our mental health and our state of stress. Making sure that you’re taking the right supplements, that you’re getting checked, that you’re really limiting the number of inflammatory foods, and really prioritizing gut health as a stress helper is super key. There was a study of mice where they had a group of depressed mice and they took fecal samples from them and implanted it into otherwise healthy mice, and those mice became depressed. Our mood and our gut are directly related. If you’re feeling anxious and stressed, it could very well be connected to an inflammatory response to some foods in your body. Often we eat food that we think is otherwise healthy, and it’s creating an unhealthy reaction inside our body.
4) Boundaries and limiting your exposure to things that are stressing you out. I know that there’s a lot going on in the world right now and it feels like we need to be tapped into it all the time. But we don’t. I’m not saying ignore the things that are important, but, I’m saying decide if you’re going to sit in that space and allow yourself to get really stressed because you being unhealthy is not helping. Limiting your exposure to negative people, negative news, unnecessary drama, and just things that are toxic, is on you. One of the skills that I have built-in, is that I don’t watch the news or listen to the news first thing in the morning and last thing at night. I will not subject my brain to that during those hours. I have also been super deliberate about not following people who stress me out on social media. Just because someone is on social media, does not mean that they get access to your time.
Hopefully, this has sparked some curiosity in you and if you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch with me.
In the meantime, remember, you are magnetic and people are waiting to hear what you have to say.