“Brain cells create ideas. Stress kills brain cells. Stress is not a good idea.” - Arthur Frederick Saunders, soldier, and recipient of the Victoria Cross (the highest honor in the British Armed Forces).
I posted this on my Instagram in October, but it is equally valid during the holiday season—and ALL 365 days of each year!
Christmas decorations, shopping for presents, lighting candles, family photoshoots, and company parties are all meant to bring joy and merriment—not extra servings of stress and cortisol.
This year, get to the heart of the issue—literally, the health of your heart, mind, body, and soul. Because they are all equally part of making a healthy and happy you!
Today, we will unwrap what stress does to your body and provide a few ways to turn STRESS into STRENGTH!
The Cycle Of Stress And Illness
Your body was not designed to live in constant stress or experience “fight or flight” modes daily—or even weekly. Cortisol levels spike when the brain perceives a threat to the body—whether that threat is real or imagined. Take a moment to be totally honest with yourself—is some of your stress made up by you?
During this time, the brain literally “TURNS OFF” many immune system functions (what fights off physical and mental illnesses) to send energy where it is needed for survival. What is the point of producing white blood cells when you feel like a “bear of stress” is chasing you?!
Here’s another example of the cycle of stress:
Chronic stress leads to fewer hours of rejuvenating sleep >> Less sleep leads to decreased melatonin production, impaired decision-making, and a weaker immune system >> All of this leads to more chronic stress, mental health issues, and physical illnesses.
How You Can Turn Stress Into Strength
Find ways to manage your stress—we all have it—so that stress doesn’t manage you. Start with one thing daily to get you out of your head and into your HEART!
Here are some of my favorite ways to manage stress—aka getting out of my head and into my heart. Remember, you control what you do and how things impact you.
- Meditation: My favorite motivating meditations are by Dr. Joe Dispenza.
- Brain Fitness: I use BrainTap daily to guide my brain from awake and reactionary patterns to intuitive and creative responses.
- Forest Bathing: Simply get out in nature. Turn your phone off, move your body, breathe fresh air, and be in awe of the beauty around you.
- Yoga and breathwork: If you can’t attend an in-person class, do a free online class. No excuses allowed!
- Reading a book that inspires and empowers: Social media posts do not count. I’m talking about a real book that you hold in your hands.
- Cold shower: Wim Hof pulled himself out of a deep depression through the natural powers of breathing and cold therapy. Discover his method for keeping your muscles supple and mind clear.
Do what works for you. Play around and pay close attention to your mind and body. How did you feel after letting your mind and body be fully immersed in a yoga class? Do you feel a little lighter after sending screen-free time in nature with your kids?
For my friend living in cold, snowy places this winter, check out this blog post on supplementing happiness all winter long.
If your brain is running on empty, it can’t help you manage stress and mental health challenges—no matter how many yoga classes you take. Therefore fuel it with what it really needs for optimal brain function: Omega-3s!Acid-Kicking Daily Omega-3 is the ONLY supplement in the world that contains the IDEAL 2:1 ratio of EPA to DHA in a highly concentrated form, making it the most superior fish oil you will find!
DHA has an incredible impact on the brain, especially regarding mild memory loss and depression. Life can be rough, so give your brain and soul the support and love it needs.
Omega 3s for brain health to have the fuel to manage stress levels