2 easy ways to de-stress the body that don't involve meditation or hitting up the gym

Bed.jpg

I know what you’re thinking.

“I barely have time to skim through this blog, let alone do ANY of the suggested tips.”

I hear you. Eat whatever is available. Exercise is for weirdos who actually like the gym. And meditation? Please.

And although meditation, eating right and healthy movement does reduce and at times eliminate stress and toxins, if it was easy, we’d all be doing it. (Only 23% of the US population works out regularly according to the CDC, )

But believe it or not, reducing body stress doesn’t always involve a trip to the gym or your local market. It’s nothing you have to fight or force your body to do, either. The hacks we’re unpacking in Part III of this stress series are so easy, it is your body’s natural instinct to do them, but they are so often overlooked.

So let’s jump in. Or fall in? Whatever is easiest for you!

First off, let’s clarify. Causations of toxins in the body aka body stress are numerous:

  • Food

  • Medication

  • Environmental pollution

  • Drugs

  • Water supply

  • Accidents

  • Injuries

  • Traumas

  • Falls

  • Bacteria

  • Viruses

  • Blood sugar levels

  • Hormones

  • Hangovers

  • Lack of sleep

  • Over exercise

Most of these causes are pretty well known and well documented versions of stress on the body so we won’t go into them here. In Part II of this series,  Stress & Creation Part II: 3 Scientific Reasons You and Stress Need to Break Up. Now, we discussed mental stress, its effect on your body, and ways to counteract that stress.

Now, not only will we be unpacking ways you may be stressing out your body and not even know it, but by incorporating these techniques, you can eliminate other forms of stress in your body.

Body Destressing Hack #1: Get Sleep 

If you haven’t been, literally go take a nap right now and read this later. See? Easy. What personal trainer would let you do that? I used to be a personal trainer and I would never! Except right now. GO!

Although 1 in 3 adults are not getting enough sleep according to the CDC, most of us do not see this as a problem. In fact, it is possibly one of the most overlooked forms of stress manifesting in our bodies. Why? Because working hard, the hustle, the grind is revered, respected, and celebrated in our culture. IG feeds are full of “inspirational” memes like: “While you sleep I’m on my grind” or “No one looked back at their life and said I’m glad I got enough sleep.” Presidents, CEOs, and powerful people historically have operated on little to no sleep. Doctors and lawyers--some of our highest paid professions--are trained in sleep deprivation from the time they are in school and it continues throughout their careers.

But logically, do any of us want a heart surgeon operating who hasn’t slept in 24 hours?

So let’s get into the science of it: what is happening in our bodies when we are deprived of sleep? According to Vlad Shenderovich of Sleep.ist “Lack of sleep increases stress levels through a few mechanisms: Sleep deprivation triggers an evolutionary fight or flight reflex, making the endocrine system release stress hormones, specifically cortisol. Higher cortisol impacts the body’s ability to heal and recover, which, along with lacking recovery from insufficient deep sleep, makes a person more prone to sickness and wake up constantly feeling tired and foggy.”

Lack of sleep also prevents the prefrontal cortex from coming “online.” Why does that matter? First off, all brain activity matters, and if you don’t think so, please refer to the beginning of this section and GO TAKE A NAP. Secondly, the prefrontal cortex controls high level-thought, logical reasoning and keeps our emotions in check. Ever turn into a raging psycho because you are tired? That’s just the prefrontal cortex not showing up for work.

When lack of sleep becomes dire, the brain starts sending off signals like thoughts, feelings, and hallucinations as a defense mechanism. These thoughts are usually in the form of your worst fears as an attempt to get you to go to sleep. Seriously. Famous magician David Blaine tried to break the world record of sleep deprivation and described it like this “After 36 hours of sleep deprivation it's like being drunk, 72 hours and paranoia sets in, day four the mind goes into hallucinations and you're dreaming while awake.”

According to Matthew Miller in the book Why We Sleep “routinely sleeping less than six or seven hours a night demolishes your immune system...disrupts blood sugar levels so profoundly that you would be classified as pre-diabetic...contributes to all major psychiatric conditions, including depression, anxiety and suicidality…there does not seem to be one major organ within the body, or process within the brain, that isn’t optimally enhanced by sleep (and detrimentally impaired when we don’t get enough).”

Ouch. Not convinced yet? Again, you probably need a nap. But check this out:

  • A lack of sleep will age you by a decade in terms of a critical aspects of wellness, virility, muscle strength, etc.

  • Epidemiological studies show that the shorter your sleep, the shorter your life. Short sleep predicts all cause mortality.

  • Neurologically, wakefulness is low level brain damage.

  • Late night workers have higher rates of obesity, diabetes and cancer.

  • Links between lack of sleep and cancer is very strong.

  • Poor sleep increases the release of the hunger hormone ghrelin and decreases leptin release. Leptin tells your brain you are full/satiated. Ghrelin tells your brain you want to eat more and/or not satisfied with food. Consequently, sleep deprived people will eat an extra 200-300 calories each day.

  • By 7 days of 6 hours of sleep, your cognitive abilities dramatically decrease.

  • If you are dieting, but you’re not getting sufficient sleep, 70% of all the weight that you lose will be from lean muscle mass and not fat.

Have I gotten into your sleep-deprived brain yet? Sleep is absolutely imperative for just about everything, but specifically decreasing/eliminating stress in the body. Moreover, it is completely natural and instinctual. Your body needs it, wants it, and you don’t have to work for it.

If you are having trouble sleeping properly, incorporate these tips.

Read the full article on CancerSchmancer..org