Improving your resistance to stress.
The blood sugar blues
After a blood sugar rush, your energy level drops, you lose concentration, get confused, suffer from bouts of
‘brain fog’, fall asleep after meals, get irritable, freak out, cannot sleep, cannot wake up, sweat too much,get headaches … Sound familiar? In an attempt to regain control, most people turn to stimulants, e.g. coffee, tea, chocolate, cigarettes, horror films, bungee jumping … something to put you on the edge.
Addicted to stress
Of course, you cannot live like this forever, so most people burn out and have to head for the beach to
recover. Yet, as they wait in the airport, what better way to relax than by reading a paperback thriller?
Backed up by a cup of coffee, a glass of wine and a stressful journey, they arrive, ready for the beach.
Then after it is time for some excitement – wind surfing, water skiing, something exhilarating. The point is that most people become addicted to stress, because without it they come crashing down – revealing their true state of adrenal exhaustion. This is why people feel exhausted or get ill when they take time off.
In a very real sense, all stressors and stimulants consume our energy. The ‘high’ is literally energy
leaving the system, like a wave that breaks and seems to be full of energy. Yet a few seconds later there is no
wave at all – and the energy is gone
De – Stressing
Eat slow-releasing carbohydrates
Fast-releasing sugars and starches create a state of stress in the body, stimulating the release of cortisol.
So avoid eating white bread, cakes, sweets or other foods with added sugar. Slow-releasing carbohydrates
on the other hand provide an ‘even keel’ of consistent energy.
Ensure you have optimal intakes of all essential nutrients
Energy nutrients include
• B6 and zinc, which help insulin to work
• B3 and chromium, which are part of the glucose
• B1, B2, B3, B5, co-enzyme Q10, C, iron, copper and
magnesium are all required to turn glucose within
cells into energy
• B12 is required to make adrenalin
• B5 is needed to make glucocorticoids (adrenal
• Choline, calcium, magnesium are also involved
As you can see, the B vitamins are very important and will get used up very rapidly when you are
stressed. You must seek advice on supplementation since many of these nutrients work synergistically.
Avoid stimulants and depressants
Most people experience substantially more energy and ability to cope with stress within 30 days of
cutting out stimulants, e.g. tea / coffee / diet drinks and depressants, e.g. alcohol.
B vitamins in particular are rapidly used up when you are under stress. Consider taking a good quality B Complex supplement for added support.
Exercise plays an essential role in stress resistance –
but it has to be the right kind. It relaxes muscles, helping with symptoms such as tension and headaches
It expels stress hormones that have built up, helps releases endorphins, which help us feel good!
The goal is for the body to be relaxed, but strong, supple, with good posture, and sufficiently fit to have
the stamina necessary for physical tasks. Too much exercise can elevate levels of the stress hormone
cortisol and is not recommended if you are stressed out. On the other hand, yoga, t’ai chi, Pilates, walking
for half an hour or meditation can help to rebalance stress hormones.
1. Identify the causes of stress
Keep a stress diary to identify all the thoughts and scenarios, which stress you out or make you anxious.
2. Make changes to whatever is in your control
If you don’t have control over something, other techniques such as relaxation and exercise are even more important.
3. Ensure your perceptions of the situation are accurate
Quite often, our experience of stress comes from our perception of the situation – which is often
inaccurate. We can be unreasonably harsh with ourselves or jump to the wrong conclusions about
people’s motives. This can send us into a downward spiral of negative thinking, which can be hard to
break. If you find it hard to look at your negative thoughts objectively, imagine you are your best
friend and what they would say.
4. Support yourself
Relaxation techniques are an invaluable tool for destressing. These include visualisation and
meditation – even 5 minutes is long enough to recharge your batteries and help you think straight.
• Eat slow releasing carbohydrates.• Ensure you have optimal intakes of all essential
nutrients. • Avoid stimulants and depressants. • Choose exercise that will leave you relaxed, yet
strong and supple. • Identify and deal with your sources of stress. • Practise deep breathing to energise the body and release tension.
To find out more about my programmes, you can reach me on 0874191301 or find me on Facebook SB Sports & Nutrition Therapist or log onto www.simplebalancenutrition.ie
Online Programmes available to complete from the comfort of your own home.