12 WAYS TO COMBAT STRESS, SLEEP BETTER & FEEL AMAZING EVERYDAY
Stress affects us all. Some days it's worse than others, and over time, it takes its toll on how we look, feel and perform.
Over 90% of adults say they experience stress or anxiety daily, and 74% say it's so great they feel unable to cope1. Add to this physical stress of training, injury, infection, or environmental toxins. Even certain foods can create stress on our bodily systems.
Some acute stress is helpful. However, chronic stress can be very harmful - even deadly!!
Here are ten things stress can cause and 12 ways to effectively combat stress:
- Reduced Thyroid Function
- Weight Gain
- Muscle Loss
- Gut Issues
- Lowered Sex Drive
- Skin Breakouts
- Hair Loss
- Low Energy
- Irritability & Loss of Empathy
- Sleep Disturbances
How do we fix this?
Exercise is more effective in reducing stress, anxiety, and depression than the top 5 antidepressant medications 2.
It might sound counterintuitive, but regular acute physical stress can significantly combat chronic mental stress. People who exercise regularly are less likely to experience anxiety and depression3.
Exercise releases endorphins and gives you confidence which may help reduce your stress. During or immediately after training, be sure to use essential amino acids like AMINO SWITCH™ to accelerate recovery. AMINO SWITCH™ also contains the adaptogen Schisandra, which has been shown to increase energy and reduce stress.
You've probably heard the term 'LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE. Well, when it comes to stress, that is entirely true.
When you have fun and laugh, it's hard to feel stressed. Laughing has a natural lowering effect on cortisol (stress hormones) and increases serotonin (happy hormone). It also activates the Vagus nerve, which helps transport the serotonin from your gut to your brain.
One study showed laughing could help healing by activating the immune system, which could further reduce the effects of physical and emotional stress4. When we are stressed, it lowers our immunity which can result in increased inflammation and reduced recovery.
Try watching comedies or hanging out with people who make you laugh and enjoy life. Once you start, it can become infectious. 😊
Like laughter, singing also boosts serotonin and activates the Vagus nerve. This has a relaxing effect and has been shown to reduce tension, stress, and anxiety.
In one study, the music you enjoyed, because it brought back happy nostalgic memories, was the most effective at reducing stress markers.
So next time you're in the car on your way to or from work, belt out a tune you love at the top of your voice and watch your stress levels drop.
4) SPEND TIME WITH FRIENDS:
People who live the longest, healthiest lives have two things in common: Purpose and community. Supporting friends and hanging out with friends and family can be stress-reducing.
One study showed men and women with the least social connections had the most significant levels of anxiety and depression.
However, pick your friends carefully and hang around people who support your goals and are genuinely fun to be around.
Many natural ingredients can reduce stress. Here is a list of the top 7 and the supplements you can find them in -
· Magnesium – ADRENAL SWITCH™ & ALPHA SWITCH™
This super important mineral is involved in over 600 bodily processes per day. It is critical for energy metabolism, nervous system relaxation, muscle recovery, energy, and so much more.
Nearly 75% of the population is not getting enough magnesium for their daily needs. Simply supplementing with magnesium citrate after exercise or before bed will profoundly benefit your recovery and lower your cortisol (stress).
· Ashwagandha – ADRENAL SWITCH™ & ALPHA SWITCH™
Known as the king of herbs. This Ayurvedic medicinal root has been used for centuries to help combat fatigue, reduce stress, and support energy. It is an adaptogen class of compounds that aid our mind and body adapt to stress.
Ashwagandha contains a natural compound called Withanolides that have been shown to lower cortisol (stress) and support natural hormone balance.
· Schisandra – AMINO SWITCH™ & ESTRO SWITCH™
This traditional Chinese medicinal berry supports qi (energy & life force). It elicits some of its benefits through liver detoxification. It is also an effective adaptogen (like ashwagandha) and improves how your body responds to caffeine by reducing jitters, improving energy levels and preventing an energy crash.
Schisandra needs to provide high levels of Schisandrin A like that found in AMINO SWITCH™ & ESTRO SWITCH™.
· Alpina galanga – COFFEE SWITCH™, THERMAL SWITCH™ & POWER SWITCH™
This unique alpine grown galangal extract has been shown to improve your tolerance to stress. It was voted 2019 innovative ingredient of the year and outperforms caffeine in focus and alertness scores without activating the central nervous system (without producing adrenaline or cortisol).
Alpina galanga will often be found in combination with caffeine or coffee, as it has been shown to amplify your body's response to caffeine by 30 – 50% and make it feel cleaner & longer lasting.
Alpina may also reduce adenosine in the brain. Therefore, preventing mental fatigue, tiredness and procrastination. It also boosts D2 dopamine receptor sensitivity, which helps combat stress by boosting mood.
The feeling of Alpina and Caffeine together is one of happiness, alertness and profound focus.
· Glycine – ADRENAL SWITCH™ & COLLAGEN SWITCH™
This non-essential amino acid has many benefits, including its tonifying effect on the nervous system. Glycine also helps support connective tissue recovery, immune response, and energy by supporting endogenous (internal) creatine production.
Like GABA, it has a calming effect if used after exercise or before bed. However, Glycine can be consumed before training, where it can help improve energy.
· L-Theanine – ADRENAL SWITCH™
L-Theanine is another non-essential amino acid with the ability to calm your body and brain. L-Theanine is found in green tea and has been shown to take the edge off caffeine (reduce jitters or anxiety) while promoting focus and elevating mood.
· Medicinal Mushrooms – VITALITY SWITCH™ & COFFEE SWITCH™
Medicinal mushrooms have been used in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine systems for centuries. They are adaptogens that help support your body's response to stress. They're also great at lowering inflammation which could be causing chronic physical stress. Medicinal mushrooms like Shitake, Maitake, Turkey Tail, King Trumpet and Cordyceps support energy and immunity while fighting pathogens like viruses, bacteria, fungus etc.
6) GET YOUR MACROS & MICROS RIGHT:
Undereating or eating calorie-dense but micronutrient depleted food can profoundly affect your mental health, stress, and body fat levels.
Keep in mind 'FOOD CAN CHANGE YOUR MOOD'. Eating food that spikes and then drops your blood sugar levels can leave you exhausted, tired, grumpy, and hungry.
Being in a chronic calorie deficit can increase cortisol (stress hormone), slow fat loss, increase muscle loss, and increase inflammation and stress. Make your diet cyclical and have higher calorie days mixed in with your calorie deficit. Using KETO SWITCH™ between meals or during fasting on your calorie deficit days can reduce muscle loss, support brain function, and reduce hunger.
7) MEDITATION & MINDFULNESS:
We all know meditation and mindfulness are helpful ways of reducing stress. However, some people have difficulty clearing their minds when attempting meditation. Apps like 'Head Space' and others can teach you or guide you through meditation, which can be life-changing.
Cuddling, hugging, kissing, and sex can relieve stress by promoting the release of oxytocin and serotonin. These practices have been shown to lower blood pressure, heart rate and other emotional and physical symptoms of stress.
Chimpanzees also cuddle friends and family who are stressed, and it has the same hormonal response in our closest primate relatives.
9) YOGA & STRETCHING
Yoga is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that has been shown to lower stress and anxiety for centuries. Studies looking at Yoga's overall effects have shown it to boost mood and lower stress. It may be as effective at treating depression as some medications.
Slowing your breathing helps to activate the parasympathetic (rest, digest, relax & recover) nervous system. It is the opposite of the fight or flight sympathetic nervous system, which is activated by shallow quick breaths.
If you get into anxiety or panic, try 'Box Breathing'.
· Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds.
· Hold your breath for 4 seconds.
· Exhale through your mouth for 4 seconds.
· Hold the exhale for 4 seconds.
· Repeat 4 times.
11) GET A PET:
Pets are like cuddling. They help us release oxytocin and serotonin. However, sometimes pets are even better because they generally provide unconditional love in return, and the relationships are not as complicated as human ones.
Having a pet may also keep you active as you must exercise them daily, which is stress-relieving.
12) GET OUT IN NATURE:
Being in nature, surrounded by trees, mountains, lakes, streams or even on the beach, listening to the crashing waves is therapeutic and stress relieving. Part of the stress-relieving effect is due to our connection to the planet, and part of it is the disconnection from emails, social media and more which can increase stress.
Another part is the sunlight on our skin boosts Vitamin D, endorphins and oxytocin, which have immune-boosting, hormone-regulating and stress relieving benefits. Disconnect at least once a week and exercise in nature (not just in the gym or around the block). Breathe in the fresh air and take in the calming effects being away from the city provides.
There are so many stressors in our lives and multiple ways to help manage or destress. You need to consider what is stressing you the most and make efforts to remove these stressors from your life.
If you practice all the above techniques but continue to expose yourself to a stressful job or relationship, it is like trying to put out a forest fire with a garden hose. It will help but may not prevent all the adverse effects of stress.
Switch Nutrition aim to help people live healthier, more active lifestyles providing your body with all it needs to get the most out of each day with their wide range of products. Check out their range of products here.
One of the most apparent symptoms of stress is a lack of energy or enthusiasm. Getting a good night's sleep by having ADRENAL SWITCH™ before bed will be the number one place to start.
And when you wake up, try replacing your daily brew with COFFEE SWITCH™ for longer-lasting healthier energy!!
Disclaimer: The above article is merely a guide and is in no way a recommendation or a treatment protocol for any health conditions or diseases. You should always consult with a qualified healthcare provider before changing your supplement, training, or nutritional strategy. Formulated Supplementary Sports Foods must not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women, anyone consuming prescription medication or children under the age of 15 unless advised by a qualified healthcare provider.