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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Answers to the 8 Most Common Stress Questions

The irony is that it’s type of anxious to search out solutions about stress.

There’s a lot conflicting info on the market.

However for those who’re a well being and health skilled, your purchasers—possibly even your folks and family members too—will doubtless flip to YOU for counsel.

They’ll ask issues like:

“Is stress REALLY poisonous?”

“Do you assume stress induced this stomach fats I can’t lose?”


“Are these purple bumps from stress?”

(Why does everybody insist on displaying you their rashes??)

You need to assist, however arising with the precise solutions may be onerous, as a result of:

The best reply relies upon.

It is determined by WHO the asker is, WHAT their targets are, WHERE they’re ranging from, and HOW MUCH they’re keen and in a position to change

The reality is, one-size-fits-all solutions to stress-related questions don’t exist.

Nevertheless, you’ll be able to construct a robust basis of information about stress that may provide help to reply these questions with extra confidence and experience.

On this article, we’ll attempt to provide you with some sources to try this.

If you’d like, learn the next Q and As from high to backside. Or, simply leap to those that curiosity you essentially the most:

Question #1. Is stress really bad for you?

Question #2. What are the signs of stress?

Question #3. Is stress making me gain / lose weight?

Question #4. How can I stop stress eating?

Question #5. How do I get rid of stress?

Question #6. How do I fit in stress-management strategies and self-care?

Question #7. Is there a diet that will help reduce stress?

Question #8. Is there any way to cool stress fast?

Query #1. Is stress BAD for you?

Sure and no. It’s all about the precise quantities—for YOU.

The connection between stress and well being has gained much more consideration and validity previously 30 years.

Consequently, you’ve doubtless discovered to affiliate stress with all types of horrible issues: coronary heart assaults, hair loss, early loss of life.

And whereas extreme, unrelenting stress positively erodes well being, let’s clear one thing up:

Not all stress is unhealthy.

In actual fact, with a purpose to thrive, we truly want some stress to really feel juicy, purposeful, and alive.

Graph shows a reverse bell-curve where very low stress reduces performance, medium stress optimizes performance, and very high stress reduces performance

Because the above chart reveals, it’s all about discovering a stress “candy spot.”

Go too far in both excessive, and also you’ll really feel crummy.

How do you discover your stress “candy spot”?

Stress that’s long-lasting, relentless, and demoralizing can also be the type of stress that’s related to despair and nervousness, heart problems, diabetes, stroke, and most cancers.1

For those who’re coping with these sorts of stressors, contemplate the place you will have management, and attempt to scale back—and even keep away from—them when you’ll be able to.

Additionally, ask for assist. Typically having one other particular person round to deal with an issue with you makes the distinction between feeling such as you’re drowning and feeling such as you’ll make it to the shore.

On the flip facet, when stress happens in shorter bursts, and you are feeling like you will have some management over it, in addition to alternatives to get well in between, it could truly provide help to turn into stronger and extra resilient over time.

This type of stress tends to really feel empowering: It helps construct you up; not break you down.

One large complication…

What feels anxious is very subjective.

Seems, your notion of stress has a huge impact on how stress feels—and what it does to your well being.

For those who imagine stress is all the time horrible and needs to be prevented in any respect prices, you’ll be extra more likely to cling to your consolation zone, concern the long run and what may occur, and keep away from conditions that would result in progress.

(You’re additionally extra more likely to expertise the destructive well being results of stress, like excessive cortisol.2)

In a merciless self-fulfilling prophecy, stress truly does turn into extra dangerous.

Nevertheless, for those who imagine stress could make you stronger, wiser, and extra resilient, you’ll be extra more likely to proactively resolve issues, search out difficult experiences—and profit from stress in your life.

Fortunately, you will have some management over your notion.

Within the spirit of serving to you shift your perspective, listed here are some examples of how some stress can truly enrich varied facets of life:

▶ Stress can strengthen relationships. Some battle is definitely essential for wholesome, safe relationships—it’s a pathway to higher perceive others. By working by means of issues collectively, we develop collectively.

▶ Stress could make you smarter. Managed successfully, stress helps you focus your consideration, plan for future challenges, and improve reminiscence and studying. Stressors would possibly even really feel like enjoyable puzzles to unravel.

▶ Stress can construct muscle groups and endurance. That is most likely the obvious instance, however most of us know that intermittent bodily stress—say, from a exercise—couped with applicable restoration helps your physique turn into stronger and extra succesful.

Select to imagine that stress has the capability to profit you. It may provide help to study, develop, and dwell an even bigger, extra adventurous and significant life.


Query #2. What are the indicators of stress?

The indicators and signs of stress rely a bit on whether or not the stress is acute or persistent.

Acute stress (assume: a automobile simply swerved in entrance of you) usually causes your sympathetic nervous system to ramp up, which releases hormones reminiscent of epinephrine (adrenaline) and cortisol.

With acute stress, you would possibly discover:

  • Your coronary heart beats a bit sooner
  • Your respiration will get deeper and faster
  • You are feeling a burst of power, alertness, giddiness, and/or focus
  • You would possibly really feel a bit shaky and even nauseous, if the stress was intense

The stress response is built-in. You don’t should assume consciously about it; your physique simply responds robotically on this technique to all stressors.

Fortunately, the restoration response can also be built-in. As soon as a menace recedes, your coronary heart fee and respiration will return to regular, and also you’ll really feel calm once more.

Two graphs compare acute stress versus chronic stress. In acute stress, stress coupled with deep recovery leads to better performance over time. In chronic stress, stress coupled with inadequate recovery leads to worse performance over time.

Continual stress is when that sympathetic activation lasts for days, weeks, or months, with out sufficient alternatives for restoration.

Identical to a rollercoaster, stress can really feel energizing in brief bouts—however like a nauseating nightmare for those who can’t get off the experience. Not surprisingly, persistent stress is extra more likely to take a toll in your bodily and psychological well being.

Indicators of persistent stress embrace:

  • Extreme worrying or nervousness
  • Low temper or power
  • Poor urge for food, OR an elevated want to “stress eat”
  • Digestive issues like heartburn or constipation
  • Bother sleeping
  • Unfocused or foggy pondering
  • Feeling remoted or irritable with others
  • Frequent colds, flus, or infections
  • Bother recovering from exercises, or aches and pains basically
  • Low intercourse drive

Whereas the stress response is regular and useful for short-lived bouts of problem and pleasure, we’re not meant to dwell in a continuing state of activation and menace.

Stress feels finest when it’s damaged up with durations of restoration.


The distinction between stress and nervousness

Everybody experiences stress.

Most individuals can even expertise nervousness.

(At the least to some extent, sooner or later.)

Nervousness usually entails bodily signs—pressure, elevated coronary heart fee, sweating.

However the hallmark facet of hysteria is a persistent feeling of apprehension or dread.

Though this sense generally looks like it arises from nowhere, it’s often induced—and perpetuated—by destructive ideas and ruminations like, “I’m by no means going to get by means of this” or “Everybody goes to guage me.”

(Overly destructive or catastrophic ideas are additionally known as “cognitive distortions.” Learn extra about learn how to take care of them right here: The thought tool that can lower your stress instantly)

Stress often begins in response to an occasion or state of affairs, and ends when that state of affairs has resolved.

However with nervousness, the “menace” tends to persist even past the scope or period of the occasion.

Whereas stress can set off useful diversifications, nervousness tends to not be tremendous productive. In extra, it could really feel fairly debilitating.

The excellent news

Many stress administration strategies are additionally efficient at lowering nervousness.

Journaling, train, social connection, and leisure workout routines like breathwork or constructive visualization may help with each stress and nervousness.

Nevertheless, if nervousness is very intense, long-lasting, or interferes together with your high quality of life, it’s finest to seek the advice of a healthcare skilled like a therapist or a household physician.

For those who’re a coach, keep in mind that you’re not certified to diagnose or deal with medical nervousness or despair. In case your shopper struggles with both, the easiest way you’ll be able to assist them is to refer out to a medical skilled who focuses on psychological well being.

(Attempting to assist purchasers with their psychological well being? Learn this primary: “I’m a coach, not a therapist!” 9 ways to help people change while staying within your scope)

Query #3. Is stress making me acquire / drop some pounds?


However extra doubtless, stress is affecting your behaviors. And consuming behaviors positively have an effect on physique composition.

Right here’s the way it works

Once you’re pressured, your physiology adjustments—at the least briefly.

Your physique’s acute stress response and the accompanying spike in adrenaline releases saved glucose (sugar) into the bloodstream so you will have power to take care of no matter problem you’re going through.

This enhance in blood sugar can scale back your urge for food, making you push away your sandwich even for those who haven’t eaten all day.

The stress response additionally dampens digestion.

Even if you do eat, meals would possibly really feel prefer it’s simply sitting in your intestine not shifting wherever, or it would blast by means of you so quick that you simply’re afraid to stray too removed from a washroom. As a result of digestion is compromised, you additionally might not adequately take in your meals.

It’s by means of each lack of urge for food and lack of absorption that some individuals drop some pounds during times of stress.

However, weight acquire during times of stress is simply as widespread.

Particularly when stress turns into persistent, the stress hormone cortisol will increase. Cortisol can enhance urge for food, particularly for carbohydrate- and calorie-rich meals.3 4

Most individuals discover consuming pleasurable and soothing, so turning to meals throughout occasions of stress is a standard (and comprehensible) coping mechanism. In fact, when this turns into a behavior, extra energy over time can result in weight acquire.

If that’s one thing you wrestle with, try the subsequent reply under.


Query #4. How can I cease stress consuming?

Greater than 60 % of our new purchasers checklist emotional or stress consuming as a serious vitamin problem. What’s extra, over 50 % say additionally they “get intense cravings” and “snack when not hungry.”

Graph shows results of a poll where participants were asked “What’s your biggest nutritional challenge. The most popular answer was “Emotional/stress eating.”

For those who relate, it could be a aid to know you’re not alone. In fact, that’s little comfort when your palms are fumbling for crumbs on the backside of a freshly opened bag of peanut butter pretzel bites.

However what for those who realized this habits happens…

  • Each time your mother calls?
  • On Sunday nights, if you’re dreading the beginning of a brand new week?
  • Everytime you see, scent, or hear one thing that reminds you of your ex?

Emotional consuming and intense cravings are sometimes a part of a sample of habits that’s triggered by a selected expertise—a thought, feeling, and/or state of affairs.

For those who can establish the set off, you’ll be able to disrupt the sample of habits and make completely different decisions.

Use the “Break the chain” worksheet to assist purchasers establish their emotional and stress consuming triggers. Then, apply the step-by-step technique on the finish of it to create and strengthen different coping mechanisms.


Query #5. How do I do away with stress?

You’ll by no means totally rid your lifetime of stress.

Nor would you need to.

As we’ve talked about, stress is a standard—even good—a part of a full, significant life.

Nevertheless, many people find yourself with stress ranges that really feel overly disruptive or unhelpful.

Typically, that’s inconceivable to keep away from. In some unspecified time in the future, most individuals will face very tough durations of unavoidable stress: sickness, accidents, monetary hardships, pure disasters, or a pandemic.

However usually, you will have some management. Possibly much more than you assume.

At PN, we use an train known as The Spheres of Management.

(If you’d like, fill out your personal spheres of management utilizing this free worksheet.)

Image shows three circles nested within each other. The biggest circle includes things over which you have no control, like the weather. The middle circle includes things over which you have some control, like your schedule. The smallest center circle includes things over which you have total control, like your mindset.

With the Spheres of Management train, you establish what areas you actually have energy over and focus extra on them.

This usually not solely helps individuals really feel much less overwhelmed and pressured, but additionally simpler, succesful, and in management.

What about these areas you will have zero management over?

By seeing the fact on paper (or a display), you can provide your self permission to cease squandering precious power attempting to manage the uncontrollable. And that in itself may help relieve stress and nervousness.


Query #6. How do I slot in self-care?

Typically, including extra restoration may be simply as efficient as lowering stress.

Once you get well, you regain, restore, or recuperate what you’ve misplaced. And you come back to your baseline state of wellbeing, well being, and efficiency.

Sounds nice, besides… what for those who really feel such as you don’t have time to ADD anything, even when it’s good for you?

A paradigm shift which may assist

As a substitute of stress administration as an “on” or “off” swap—you’re both doing ALL the issues or NOTHING—consider it extra like a “dial.”

The picture under reveals what stress restoration would possibly appear to be on a continuum, from devoting 5 minutes a day to one thing restorative, all the way in which to principally making it your job to be a Grasp of Chill.

(If you wish to see how this idea applies to different habits—like these associated to vitamin or health—try this infographic: Never press “pause” on your health and fitness again)

Image shows a dial illustrating the range of actions you can do to reduce stress, starting from least effort, to most effort. A “1” represents 5 minutes of de-stressing, whereas a “10” represents filling most days with relaxing and restorative activities.

To use this idea, begin by figuring out your baseline: Are your stress administration practices at the moment at a 1 or 2? Or possibly even a 0?

If that’s the case, no judgment. That is simply your start line.

Take into consideration what “a bit higher” would possibly appear to be.

Even by one or two “notches.”

May you add 5 minutes of journaling to your night routine? Or a ten minute stroll to get some solar and contemporary air within the morning? Contemplate what only a little higher would possibly appear to be, and begin there.

For the additional frazzled, it would assist to know that generally the BEST time to begin a brand new behavior is if you’re busiest.

For those who can study to suit stress administration practices into your life if you’re swamped, it’ll really feel like a breeze to maintain them in there—and even construct on them—when life settles down.

(And if life by no means settles down, at the least you didn’t delay your self-care additional ready for the “excellent time.”)


Query #7. Is there a weight-reduction plan that can assist scale back stress?

Everywhere in the web, you’ll discover healing diets for stress and nervousness. They put meals into neat little classes, and as long as you ONLY eat “do” meals—and judiciously eradicate “don’t” meals—your stress will go away.

If solely feeling higher have been that straightforward.

Fact is, good psychological well being is determined by many completely different vitamins from many completely different meals, in addition to a set of basic vitamin rules, like:

  • Getting sufficient power (energy) to cowl your power wants
  • Assembly macronutrient (proteins, carbohydrates, and fat) and micronutrient (nutritional vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients) wants
  • Ingesting sufficient water
  • Consuming at common occasions, no matter meaning for you
  • Consuming principally minimally-processed meals (like fruits, greens, entire grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, animal proteins, and dairy)
  • Consuming slowly and mindfully
  • Having fun with your meals, and the corporate you share it with

Persistently neglecting the above can add stress.

Prioritizing them—which doesn’t imply doing them completely—might be the simplest vitamin technique to cut back stress.

If that checklist seems to be overwhelming, simply begin from wherever you’re proper now, and easily intention to eat “a bit higher.”

Image shows a horizontal scale going from red (needs improvement) to green (doing awesome). If you are in the red, you may try aiming for orange or yellow, or just a little bit better, before you get to green.]

Select one apply to work on from the above checklist, and in a few weeks, consider whether or not you’re able to construct on it.

Grasp the basics, and also you’ll see that they’re fairly efficient on their very own, no magic weight-reduction plan wanted.


Query #8. Is there a technique to calm stress quick?

It doesn’t matter what’s occurring in your life, one of the efficient, accessible methods to chill stress FAST is just to breathe.

Gradual, deep respiration stimulates your vagus nerve (the primary nerve of your “rest-and-digest” system), which may help chill out your entire physique.

In flip, this reduces not solely your physiological response to emphasize but additionally your emotional response.

Once you’re calmer and extra relaxed, you make higher choices. You’re in a position to focus higher. You are feeling extra in management. And deliberate respiration strategies may help.

One respiration method we like is named “Field respiration.” It breaks the breath cycle into 4 4-second-long phases (just like the 4 sides of a sq.).

Right here’s learn how to do it

  1. Take a four-second inhale by means of your nostril. However don’t simply “breathe into your stomach.” Attempt to pull the air into your chest and mid-back with out letting your ribs flare out. (You’ll really feel some pressure in your abs.)
  2. Maintain your inhale for 4 seconds.
  3. Exhale for 4 seconds. Think about that you simply’re slowly blowing out a giant sigh. Hold your physique relaxed, however put a bit pressure into your abs so that you simply really feel them pulling your ribs down and in, towards your backbone.
  4. Maintain your exhale for 4 seconds.

Repeat as many occasions as you’d like. (And really feel higher.)


Stress is uncomfortable, however it additionally helps us develop.

If you’re pressured about answering your purchasers stress-related questions, consider it this manner:

This is a chance to develop and deepen your information and training abilities.

(See? We’re making use of a resilience-building mindset already!)

Being a coach who helps purchasers handle their stress entails, sure, figuring out about stress.

However it additionally means being a fellow human who can relate to their struggles.

Alongside your purchasers, you’ll be able to use your information about stress and restoration to tackle challenges, and develop into a greater coach—and particular person—than you have been earlier than.


Click on right here to view the knowledge sources referenced on this article.

For those who’re a well being and health professional…

Studying learn how to assist purchasers handle stress and optimize sleep can massively change your purchasers’ outcomes.

They’ll get “unstuck” and at last transfer ahead—whether or not they need to eat higher, transfer extra, drop some pounds, or reclaim their well being.

Plus, it’ll provide the confidence and credibility as a specialised coach who can resolve the most important issues blocking any purchasers’ progress.

The brand-new PN Level 1 Sleep, Stress Management, and Recovery Coaching Certification will present you the way.


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