Stress Relief: The Most Toxic Thing in Your Life Is Probably Your Stress

Elisa Haggarty
February 27, 2017

Chronic stress is associated with every chronic disease.

It lays the foundation for hormone imbalance and inflammation . According to the American Psychological Association, 75% of adults reported experiencing moderate-to-high levels of stress in the past month. Nearly half reported that their stress has increased in the past year.

These days, there are entire wellness centers and weeklong health retreats designed to help us lower our stress levels and feel more balanced. I’m all for a relaxing getaway, but perhaps we won’t need to escape as much from our busy lives if we adopt these 5 effective ways to manage stress.

1. Stop trying to get rid of stress!

Once I accepted that there will always be some form of external “stress” in my life, I relaxed into the journey and let go of how things “should be." Over the years, I’ve rewired my brain to view challenges as opportunities, which has created a ripple effect in my life that has had immeasurable benefit in my personal and professional life.

2. Understand when stress is being sneaky.

In my work as a functional nutritionist, I teach people that stress isn’t just emotional. People often say, “But I don’t feel stressed!" Yet the crazy thing is that your body is always communicating with you. Weight-loss resistance, psoriasis flare-ups, and headaches are warning signs that your body is under stress. Blood sugar spikes, nutrient deficiencies , and unmanaged autoimmunity will initiate a stress response in the body.

3. Do a digital detox.

I’ll admit that cute kitten videos and internet stories of triumph are refreshing and uplifting. But unfortunately, our digital addiction is causing unintended stress.

Weave a digital detox into your weekly routine by going for walks or planning phone-free picnic dates with friends. Nature has an incredible ability to get us grounded and activate our parasympathetic nervous system . When our parasympathetic nervous system is activated, we replenish energy stores, digest our food better, and reduce inflammation.

4. Ask for help.

I finally realized I didn’t have to conquer everything by myself. Saving face and “pushing through” was exhausting and only added more stress to my life. There is nothing heroic about trying to do it all alone. In fact, two of the greatest ingredients for a long, healthy life are community and humility.

Most importantly, when I stepped up and asked for help during times of stress, I empowered others to help me, and in turn, helped them feel valued and fulfilled.

5. Dance!

Moving your body to the rhythm of music has incredible effects for mood, brain function, and even digestion! Music and movement call upon every region of the brain to move in rhythm with the beat, maintain balance, and remember steps.

Dance also allows us to get out of "fight or flight" by activating our parasympathetic nervous system, which is where digestion thrives. When we allow ourselves to move freely, we release much of the tension and worry that drag us down throughout the week. When the music stops, we're refreshed and more balanced in dealing with whatever life throws our way.

Stress is our friend. It presents an opportunity for growth and a shift in habit formation. Luckily for all of us, we get the chance to work with it each and every day.

Ready to take control of your stress? Schedule a call  to learn what Parsley Health can do for you, how to save on Parsley , and more.

Elisa Haggarty

After working as a Health Coach for two years at Parsley Health, Elisa has moved over to the clinical operations and content department. Elisa supports day-to-day clinical operations company-wide and is also spearheading building a robust educational resources database.

Elisa is a Certified Functional Nutrition and Lifestyle Practitioner through The Functional Alliance’s Holistic Nutrition Lab as well as a Certified Health Coach through The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Elisa is a graduate of The Natural Gourmet Institute in NYC and earner her undergraduate degree in Secondary Education at The College of St. Rose. Elisa firmly believes that each meal is a chance to impact mental and physical health. In her spare time, Elisa is an avid basketball fan and player, enjoys spending time with friends, and is also raising two sweet kittens in her Brooklyn home.

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