The irony is that it’s kind of stressful to find answers well-nigh stress.
There’s so much estranged information out there.
But if you’re a health and fitness professional, your clients—maybe plane your friends and loved ones too—will likely turn to YOU for counsel.
They’ll ask things like:
“Is stress REALLY toxic?”
“Do you think stress caused this vitals fat I can’t lose?”
“Are these red bumps from stress?”
(Why does everyone insist on showing you their rashes??)
You want to help, but coming up with the right answers can be hard, because:
The right wordplay depends.
It depends on WHO the asker is, WHAT their goals are, WHERE they’re starting from, and HOW MUCH they’re willing and worldly-wise to change
The truth is, one-size-fits-all answers to stress-related questions don’t exist.
However, you can build a strong foundation of knowledge well-nigh stress that can help you wordplay these questions with increasingly conviction and expertise.
In this article, we’ll try to requite you some resources to do that.
If you want, read the pursuit Q and As from top to bottom. Or, just jump to the ones that interest you the most:
Question #1. Is stress BAD for you?
Yes and no. It’s all well-nigh the right amounts—for YOU.
The relationship between stress and health has gained a lot increasingly sustentation and validity in the past 30 years.
As a result, you’ve likely learned to socialize stress with all kinds of terrible things: heart attacks, hair loss, early death.
And while excessive, unrelenting stress definitely erodes health, let’s well-spoken something up:
Not all stress is bad.
In fact, in order to thrive, we unquestionably need some stress to finger juicy, purposeful, and alive.
As the whilom orchestration shows, it’s all well-nigh finding a stress “sweet spot.”
Go too far in either extreme, and you’ll finger crummy.
How do you find your stress “sweet spot”?
Stress that’s long-lasting, relentless, and demoralizing is moreover the kind of stress that’s associated with peepers and anxiety, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, and cancer.1
If you’re dealing with those kinds of stressors, consider where you have control, and try to reduce—or plane avoid—them when you can.
Also, ask for help. Sometimes having flipside person virtually to tackle a problem with you makes the difference between feeling like you’re drowning and feeling like you’ll make it to the shore.
On the flip side, when stress occurs in shorter bursts, and you finger like you have some tenancy over it, as well as opportunities to recover in between, it can unquestionably help you wilt stronger and increasingly resilient over time.
This kind of stress tends to finger empowering: It helps build you up; not unravel you down.
One big complication…
What feels stressful is highly subjective.
Turns out, your perception of stress has a big impact on how stress feels—and what it does to your health.
If you believe stress is unchangingly terrible and should be avoided at all costs, you’ll be increasingly likely to cling to your repletion zone, fear the future and what could happen, and steer well-spoken of situations that could lead to growth.
(You’re moreover increasingly likely to wits the negative health effects of stress, like upper cortisol.2)
In a unforgiving self-fulfilling prophecy, stress unquestionably does wilt increasingly harmful.
However, if you believe stress can make you stronger, wiser, and increasingly resilient, you’ll be increasingly likely to proactively solve problems, seek out challenging experiences—and benefit from stress in your life.
Luckily, you have some tenancy over your perception.
In the spirit of helping you shift your perspective, here are some examples of how some stress can unquestionably enrich various aspects of life:
Stress can strengthen relationships. Some mismatch is unquestionably crucial for healthy, secure relationships—it’s a pathway to largest understand others. By working through things together, we grow together.
Stress can make you smarter. Managed effectively, stress helps you focus your attention, plan for future challenges, and enhance memory and learning. Stressors might plane finger like fun puzzles to solve.
Stress can build muscles and endurance. This is probably the most obvious example, but most of us know that intermittent physical stress—say, from a workout—couped with towardly recovery helps your soul wilt stronger and increasingly capable.
Choose to believe that stress has the topics to goody you. It can help you learn, grow, and live a bigger, increasingly venturesome and meaningful life.
- Good stress, bad stress: Finding your sweet spot [INFOGRAPHIC]
- Secrets for using stress to build you up—instead of unravel you down
Question #2. What are the signs of stress?
The signs and symptoms of stress depend a little on whether the stress is vigilant or chronic.
Acute stress (think: a car just swerved in front of you) often causes your sympathetic nervous system to ramp up, which releases hormones such as epinephrine (adrenaline) and cortisol.
With vigilant stress, you might notice:
- Your heart beats a little faster
- Your zoetic gets deeper and quicker
- You finger a splash of energy, alertness, giddiness, and/or focus
- You might finger a little shaky or plane nauseous, if the stress was intense
The stress response is built-in. You don’t have to think consciously well-nigh it; your soul just responds automatically in this way to all stressors.
Luckily, the recovery response is moreover built-in. Once a threat recedes, your heart rate and zoetic will return to normal, and you’ll finger wifely again.
Chronic stress is when that sympathetic vivification lasts for days, weeks, or months, without unobjectionable opportunities for recovery.
Just like a rollercoaster, stress can finger energizing in short bouts—but like a nauseating nightmare if you can’t get off the ride. Not surprisingly, chronic stress is increasingly likely to take a toll on your physical and mental health.
Signs of chronic stress include:
- Excessive worrying or anxiety
- Low mood or energy
- Poor appetite, OR an increased desire to “stress eat”
- Digestive problems like heartburn or constipation
- Trouble sleeping
- Unfocused or foggy thinking
- Feeling isolated or irritable with others
- Frequent colds, flus, or infections
- Trouble recovering from workouts, or aches and pains in general
- Low sex drive
While the stress response is normal and helpful for short-lived bouts of rencontre and excitement, we’re not meant to live in a unvarying state of vivification and threat.
Stress feels weightier when it’s wrenched up with periods of recovery.
The difference between stress and anxiety
Everyone experiences stress.
Most people will moreover wits anxiety.
(At least to some degree, at some point.)
Anxiety often involves physical symptoms—tension, increased heart rate, sweating.
But the hallmark speciality of uneasiness is a persistent feeling of winds or dread.
Although this feeling sometimes seems like it arises from nowhere, it’s usually caused—and perpetuated—by negative thoughts and ruminations like, “I’m never going to get through this” or “Everyone is going to judge me.”
(Overly negative or catastrophic thoughts are moreover tabbed “cognitive distortions.” Read increasingly well-nigh how to deal with them here: The thought tool that can lower your stress instantly)
Stress usually starts in response to an event or situation, and ends when that situation has resolved.
But with anxiety, the “threat” tends to persist plane vastitude the telescopic or elapsing of the event.
While stress can trigger helpful adaptations, uneasiness tends not to be super productive. In excess, it can finger pretty debilitating.
The good news
Many stress management techniques are moreover constructive at reducing anxiety.
Journaling, exercise, social connection, and relaxation exercises like breathwork or positive visualization can help with both stress and anxiety.
However, if uneasiness is expressly intense, long-lasting, or interferes with your quality of life, it’s weightier to consult a healthcare professional like a therapist or a family doctor.
If you’re a coach, remember that you’re not qualified to diagnose or treat clinical uneasiness or depression. If your vendee struggles with either, the weightier way you can support them is to refer out to a medical professional who specializes in mental health.
(Trying to help clients with their mental health? Read this first: “I’m a coach, not a therapist!” 9 ways to help people transpiration while staying within your scope)
Question #3. Is stress making me proceeds / lose weight?
But increasingly likely, stress is well-expressed your behaviors. And eating behaviors definitely stupefy soul composition.
Here’s how it works
When you’re stressed, your physiology changes—at least temporarily.
Your body’s vigilant stress response and the twin spike in adrenaline releases stored glucose (sugar) into the bloodstream so you have energy to deal with whatever rencontre you’re facing.
This increase in thoroughbred sugar can reduce your appetite, making you push yonder your sandwich plane if you haven’t eaten all day.
The stress response moreover dampens digestion.
Even when you do eat, supplies might finger like it’s just sitting in your gut not moving anywhere, or it might wham through you so fast that you’re wrung to stray too far from a washroom. Because digestion is compromised, you moreover may not ratherish absorb your food.
It’s through both loss of want and loss of traction that some people lose weight during periods of stress.
On the other hand, weight gain during periods of stress is just as common.
Especially when stress becomes chronic, the stress hormone cortisol increases. Cortisol can increase appetite, expressly for carbohydrate- and calorie-rich foods.3 4
Most people find eating pleasurable and soothing, so turning to supplies during times of stress is a worldwide (and understandable) coping mechanism. Of course, when this becomes a habit, glut calories over time can lead to weight gain.
If that’s something you struggle with, trammels out the next wordplay below.
- Weekend overeating: 5 surprising strategies to ditch the bingeing, the guilt, and the uneaten weight
Question #4. How can I stop stress eating?
More than 60 percent of our new clients list emotional or stress eating as a major nutrition challenge. What’s more, over 50 percent say they moreover “get intense cravings” and “snack when not hungry.”
If you relate, it might be a relief to know you’re not alone. Of course, that’s little consolation when your hands are fumbling for crumbs at the marrow of a freshly opened bag of peanut butter pretzel bites.
But what if you realized this policies occurs…
- Every time your mom calls?
- On Sunday nights, when you’re dreading the start of a new week?
- Whenever you see, smell, or hear something that reminds you of your ex?
Emotional eating and intense cravings are typically part of a pattern of policies that’s triggered by a specific experience—a thought, feeling, and/or situation.
If you can identify the trigger, you can disrupt the pattern of policies and make variegated choices.
Use the “Break the chain” worksheet to help clients identify their emotional and stress eating triggers. Then, wield the step-by-step strategy at the end of it to create and strengthen volitional coping mechanisms.
Question #5. How do I get rid of stress?
You’ll never entirely rid your life of stress.
Nor would you want to.
As we’ve mentioned, stress is a normal—even good—part of a full, meaningful life.
However, many of us end up with stress levels that finger overly disruptive or unhelpful.
Sometimes, that’s untellable to avoid. At some point, most people will squatter very difficult periods of unavoidable stress: illness, injuries, financial hardships, natural disasters, or a pandemic.
But often, you have some control. Maybe plane increasingly than you think.
At PN, we use an exercise tabbed The Spheres of Control.
(If you want, fill out your own spheres of tenancy using this self-ruling worksheet.)
With the Spheres of Tenancy exercise, you identify what areas you truly have power over and focus increasingly on them.
This often not only helps people finger less overwhelmed and stressed, but moreover increasingly effective, capable, and in control.
What well-nigh those areas you have zero tenancy over?
By seeing the reality on paper (or a screen), you can requite yourself permission to stop wasting precious energy trying to tenancy the uncontrollable. And that in itself can help relieve stress and anxiety.
Question #6. How do I fit in self-care?
Sometimes, adding more recovery can be just as constructive as reducing stress.
When you recover, you regain, restore, or recuperate what you’ve lost. And you return to your baseline state of wellbeing, health, and performance.
Sounds great, except… what if you finger like you don’t have time to ADD anything else, plane if it’s good for you?
A paradigm shift that might help
Instead of looking at stress management as an “on” or “off” switch—you’re either doing ALL the things or NOTHING—think of it increasingly like a “dial.”
The image unelevated shows what stress recovery might squint like on a continuum, from devoting five minutes a day to something restorative, all the way to basically making it your job to be a Master of Chill.
(If you want to see how this concept applies to other habits—like those related to nutrition or fitness—check out this infographic: Never printing “pause” on your health and fitness again)
To wield this concept, start by identifying your baseline: Are your stress management practices currently at a 1 or 2? Or maybe plane a 0?
If so, no judgment. This is just your starting point.
Think well-nigh what “a little better” might squint like.
Even by one or two “notches.”
Might you add five minutes of journaling to your evening routine? Or a 10 minute walk to get some sun and fresh air in the morning? Consider what just a little better might squint like, and start there.
For the uneaten frazzled, it might help to know that sometimes the BEST time to start a new habit is when you’re busiest.
If you can learn to fit stress management practices into your life when you’re swamped, it’ll finger like a walkover to alimony them in there—or plane build on them—when life settles down.
(And if life never settles down, at least you didn’t wait your self-care remoter waiting for the “perfect time.”)
- Feel like you’re lightweight at self care? It’s not your fault—but we have solutions that can unquestionably help
Question #7. Is there a nutrition that will help reduce stress?
All over the internet, you’ll find curative diets for stress and anxiety. They put supplies into neat little categories, and so long as you ONLY eat “do” foods—and judiciously eliminate “don’t” foods—your stress will go away.
If only feeling largest were that simple.
Truth is, good mental health depends on many variegated nutrients from many different foods, as well as a set of fundamental nutrition principles, like:
- Getting unbearable energy (calories) to cover your energy needs
- Meeting macronutrient (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) and micronutrient (vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients) needs
- Drinking unbearable water
- Eating at regular times, whatever that ways for you
- Consuming mostly minimally-processed foods (like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, unprepossessing proteins, and dairy)
- Eating slowly and mindfully
- Enjoying your food, and the visitor you share it with
Consistently neglecting the whilom can add stress.
Prioritizing them—which doesn’t midpoint doing them perfectly—is probably the most constructive nutrition strategy to reduce stress.
If that list looks overwhelming, just start from wherever you are right now, and simply aim to eat “a little better.”
Choose one practice to work on from the whilom list, and in a couple of weeks, evaluate whether you’re ready to build on it.
Master the fundamentals, and you’ll see that they’re pretty constructive on their own, no magic nutrition needed.
Question #8. Is there a way to wifely stress fast?
No matter what’s going on in your life, one of the most effective, wieldy ways to tomfool stress FAST is simply to breathe.
Slow, deep zoetic stimulates your vagus nerve (the main nerve of your “rest-and-digest” system), which can help relax your whole body.
In turn, this reduces not only your physiological response to stress but moreover your emotional response.
When you’re calmer and increasingly relaxed, you make largest decisions. You’re worldly-wise to focus better. You finger increasingly in control. And deliberate zoetic techniques can help.
One zoetic technique we like is tabbed “Box breathing.” It breaks the vapor trundling into four 4-second-long stages (like the four sides of a square).
Here’s how to do it
- Take a four-second inhale through your nose. But don’t just “breathe into your belly.” Try to pull the air into your chest and mid-back without letting your ribs flare out. (You’ll finger some tension in your abs.)
- Hold your inhale for four seconds.
- Exhale for four seconds. Imagine that you’re slowly self-glorification out a big sigh. Alimony your soul relaxed, but put a little tension into your abs so that you finger them pulling your ribs lanugo and in, toward your spine.
- Hold your exhale for four seconds.
Repeat as many times as you’d like. (And finger better.)
Stress is uncomfortable, but it moreover helps us grow.
If you’re stressed well-nigh answering your clients stress-related questions, think of it this way:
This is an opportunity to expand and deepen your knowledge and coaching skills.
(See? We’re applying a resilience-building mindset already!)
Being a mentor who helps clients manage their stress involves, yes, knowing about stress.
But it moreover ways stuff a fellow human who can relate to their struggles.
Alongside your clients, you can use your knowledge well-nigh stress and recovery to take on challenges, and grow into a largest coach—and person—than you were before.
If you’re a health and fitness pro…
Learning how to help clients manage stress and optimize sleep can massively transpiration your clients’ results.
They’ll get “unstuck” and finally move forward—whether they want to eat better, move more, lose weight, or reuse their health.
Plus, it’ll requite you the conviction and points as a specialized mentor who can solve the biggest problems blocking any clients’ progress.
The brand-new PN Level 1 Sleep, Stress Management, and Recovery Coaching Certification will show you how.
The post The top 8 most worldwide stress-related questions, answered. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.