As the world turns at an ever more frantic pace, our ability to make sense of our world and the ability to cope with all its responsibilities seem to diminish. Why is it that stress is the curse of the modern age? And why do we talk about it more than any other generation? We need to stress less.
Of course, man in the Dark Ages in Britain would certainly have lived under stressful physical circumstances, with cold, hunger and disease and the prospect of war. These kind of stressful conditions did not really improve for the under privileged until the end of the Victorian era, and finally until the foundation of the Welfare State. You may of course argue that in some sections of the population this reality is still very much in evidence. In Britain, by and large though, a shift has occurred from physical challenges to a psychological stresses. With the advancement of technology, and industrial processes from the 18th century onwards, language to describe how we feel seems to have mirrored how we might describe industrial materials or manufacturing. Words like “stress” (ie of materials),” breaking” point” and “burn-out “ are words that might describe compromised malfunctioning machines not humans!
The term “Stress” has been often attributed to Hans Selye in 1936 but Seyle was at pains to avoid the phrase until 1946 and it seems likely that actually Walter Cannon who actually developed the term stress in his work relating to the flight-or-flight response in 1932. That makes stress in the modern sense of the world a very recent term.
The psychological load in the modern work place is the treat that years ago would have been “equivalent” to going to war or not having enough food. Work of course is a source of stability, status and security but the flip side of the coin is that it sometimes can be a source of conflict, frustration, disappointment, illness coupled with a sense of being out of control and working to an agenda that is out of the individual’s immediate control.
Rightly, a lot of work in the field of stress medicine has been done in the psychological arena by building resilience though the mind but little is talked about in terms of setting the Foundation for wellness – a place where resilience can be actually built, ie the body. It’s almost as if this can be done by determination and strong will alone. In my view the foundation has to be built from a basis of a “strategic” diet (meaning a diet that balances energy and stress hormones) and promotes a lasting wellness. A diet fueled with vital nutrients and goodness. What we eat is our building block but yet, especially in the West we treat our body like the machine we describe ourselves as. We shovel “fuel” in without thought or care and expect our bodies to perform. And when the machine stops we are surprised. Should we be?
If we stopped treating our bodies like machines and realised that we are human beings. What we eat is something that is the most important and proactive antidote to a stressful life not only in terms of building a strong and healthy body but a settled a strong mind able to deal with whatever life throws at it, allowing us to stress less.
1. Balance Energy by managing your blood sugar levels effectively
2. Make sure you have enough essential minerals specifically Chromium which helps balance the blood sugar
3. Eat Breakfast, which will stop your stress hormones fluctuating – but make sure you have protein included (eg nuts added to your porridge, eggs. Be bold!)
4. Watch the tea and coffee (and caffeine) intake – in the short term change to Green Tea (some caffeine but less that strong black tea) – too much caffeine will affect rises cortisol levels, a powerful stress hormone
6. Learn Mindfulness practices – get your free download
7. Plan for tomorrow but live for today
8. Don’t focus too much on the detail of life – is it that important?
9. Make time to know what you will eat today – don’t let it be an accident!
10. Some food will directly affect mood by producing a drug like effect in the body! Learn more about how to avoid these addictions – See “Natural Highs” by Patrick Holford