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Stress awareness; boost happiness, not cortisol

Stress awareness; boost happiness, not cortisol
By Skye Macfarlane | November 28, 2019

When a body is working well short-term stress can be a good thing – think exercise or running. This places a stress on the body but the overall effect is good – it helps to boost metabolism, strengthen the cardiovascular system and strengthen our muscles. By long term chronic stress is different. This is the common condition of modern living, stress that is underlying and every day.

Stress can arise from lack of sleep, poor diet, mental health issues, nervous system exhaustion – all these forms of stress effect our body and how we live. Sadly so many of us are constantly stressed we do not even recognise the symptoms anymore as it is our ‘normal’.  Often those that are chronically stressed also catch every bug or feel like they are sick more than normal and this is because chronic stress actually reduces your immunity and effects our sleep patterns if it is not corrected. Without good quality sleep our body cannot repair itself correctly; we need at least 8 hours sleep a night to help restore and repair the day. This is when the body works on ‘cleaning’ up, or processing anything it may need and if we are stressed we are less likely to sleep well. When we respond to stress our body releases cortisol to react to what is going on as this can help us get away from the cause of the stress if needs be. But if we are stressed multiple times throughout the day (traffic jam, work deadlines, kids etc) our cortisol just keeps getting released, (this is what people are exhausted but when they go to bed still wide awake – they have too much cortisol in the blood system). By including magnesium into your day you can help support your nervous system and reduce the effect cortisol has on your system. Dark green leafy vegetables are a great source of magnesium, it is important to have this daily as magnesium is water soluble and we burn through our reserves very quickly (by consuming coffee, feeling stressed or anxious). Plant based foods are also high in Vitamin B6 which help support a healthy nervous system and sleep (things like avocadoes, spinach, kale, walnuts and peanut butter are a great source). By looking after your body with plants throughout the day you are helping set yourself up for a better night’s sleep and a healthier nervous system.