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A Deeper Look Into Manage Chronic Stress

Updated on January 14, 2020
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Bing Xi is a fitness coach who helps clients manage chronic stress.

What is Chronic Stress?

Stress is a feeling of tension, or the body's reaction to a challenge or demand, which can occur both physically or non-physically, or both. Usually, in short bursts, stress can be positive, especially when under control and people can recover from it. That is the case of acute stress. However, when out of control or for other reasons, when people do not recover well from stress, it becomes chronic, which is often negative.


To illustrate the difference between acute and chronic stress, imagine that the human stress levels are constantly cycling up and down. Every acute stress will cause stress levels to go up. Upon recovery, stress levels go down. Depending on the adaptability of the stress, chronic stress may occur, which leads to exhaustion and fatigue, subsequently illnesses.

Stress Cycles Illustration

Cortisol is a stress hormone, which is an indicator of stress level
Cortisol is a stress hormone, which is an indicator of stress level | Source

Concerns of Chronic Stress

Chronic stress results in poor energy, illnesses, slowed down recovery and poor overall health.

Signs of it include difficulty sleeping, digestive problems and rapid, disorganized thoughts.

Common causes of Chronic Stress

Some common causes of Chronic Stress include high pressure jobs, over exertion in physical training and poor posture.


High pressure jobs result in poor adaptation to mental and emotional stress. This stress piles up, which then becomes chronic. The same can happen not just in jobs but also in financial difficulties or challenging relationships.


Over exertion in physical training results in poor adaptation to physical stress. This results in lack of recovery from the stress, which then becomes chronic. The same can happen not just with over exertion in one session but also cumulative exertion over a period of time of repetitive training or reduced adaptability to the same physical stress due to various reasons like having poor techniques, change in lifestyle or contracting an illness.


Poor posture results in repetitive physical stress patterns on the body. When these physical stress patterns are too large for proper adaptation, the stress becomes chronic. This can exacerbate when someone who does physical training with poor posture or have poor techniques in physical training that reinforce poor posture.


It is also important to note that mental, emotional and physical stresses are not mutually exclusive and they can reinforce each other.

Manage Chronic Stress

Chronic stress can be managed by improving sleep, digestion and address overall stress.


Improve sleep, both quantity and quality, to allow better recovery from daily activities to manage chronic stress. Ideally, have 6-8 hours of sleep with regular sleeping hours and schedule. Sleeping environment should also be dark, cool, quiet and without wi-fi devices. Stress busting activities before bedtime like meditation, prayer, and grateful journal are helpful. Washing down half a tea spoon of salt with water also provides the body with minerals that aids in better sleep.


Address digestion to reduce load on the body's internal organs to manage chronic stress. Look out for symptoms of intolerance/allergy like constipation and bloating. Eliminate suspected food for 3-6 weeks before reintroducing them to check how body responds to the reintroduced food. Some of the common food that can cause intolerance are diary, wheat, soy, nuts, shellfish and eggs. Stay hydrated throughout the day and have enough fibre (from veges or supplements). Have digestive enzymes if necessary.


Address overall stress to manage chronic stress. Common sources of overall stress includes sleep, digestion (mentioned previously), emotional stress and over-training. Emotional stress can be managed with pre-bedtime stress busting activities mentioned earlier, while over-training can be addressed by reducing the volume of workout by half for better recovery and adaptation. In general, daily stress results in more tension and harder to relax, which can be addressed by supplements that aid in relaxation, like Magnesium. In the event of accumulated overall stress causing adrenaline fatigue whereby low energy level is experienced throughout most of the day, adrenals support supplements (like Vit C) can be helpful.

Manage Chronic Stress overview

Sleep
Digestion
Overall Stress
Environment
Food intolerances
Sleep
Stress busting activities
Hydration
Digestion
Sleeping hours
Fibre intake
Emotional
Supplements
Digestive enzymes
Training
 
 
Daily stress
 
 
Adrenals support

Sleep

Source

Improve Sleep to Overcome Chronic Stress

Improve sleep by improving the environment, introducing stress busting activities, improving sleeping hours and introducing supplements.


Sleeping environment should be dark such that you cannot see your hand when held at arms length in front of you. It should be cool, lightly ventilated, and quiet. If need be, use eye-masks and earplugs. Ideally, electronic and wi-fi devices should be turned off.


Stress busting activities before bedtime like meditation, prayer, and grateful journal can be helpful.


Ideally, have six to eight hour of sleep. In the case of weird sleep hours past midnight, adjust them by fifteen minutes every night or thirty minutes every two nights to allow adaptation back to usual sleeping routines, avoiding afternoon naps in the midst of this adjustment.


If there is a need to take supplements, start with something low in cost. Wash down half a tea spoon of table salt with water to provide the body with minerals that aids in better sleep. Replace water with fruit juice for better effect as carbohydrates make people feel sleepy from the blood sugar spike and crash. If need be, take Magnesium, starting with a small dosage, to stay asleep during the night. To fall asleep fast, take Melatonin, but avoid relying on it.

Improve Sleep overview

Environment
Stress busting activities
Sleeping hours
Supplements
Dark
Meditation
Quantity
Salt (w water/fruit juice)
Cool
Prayer
Weird hours
Magnesium
Quiet
Hypnosis
 
Melatonin
Without electronics/wi-fi devices
Grateful journal
 
Others

Digestion

Source

Improve Digestion

Improve digestion to reduce load on the body's internal organs to manage chronic stress. This can be done by eliminating food intolerance, staying hydrated, having enough fibre and having digestive enzymes.


Look out for symptoms of intolerance like constipation and bloating. Eliminate suspected food for 3-6 weeks before reintroducing them to check how body responds to the reintroduced food. Some of the common food that can cause intolerance are diary, wheat, soy, nuts, shellfish and eggs.


For hydration, have enough (not too much) water throughout the day by drinking in sips and increasing the quality to water (filtered/mineral water) to increase water retention.


Have enough (not too much) fibre (from veges or supplements) spread throughout the day.


Have digestive enzymes if necessary. Avoid using HCL if you have a history of stomach ulcer.

Improve Digestion overview

Food intolerances
Hydration
Fibre intake
Digestive enzymes
Diary
Drink more water
Increase
Without HCL
Wheat
Drink less water
Decrease
With HCL
Soy
Drink in sips
Spread more evenly
 
Nuts
Increase quality of water
 
 
Shellfish
 
 
 
Eggs
 
 
 

Address Overall Stress

Address overall stress to manage chronic stress. Common sources of overall stress includes sleep, digestion (mentioned previously), emotional stress and over-training.


For overall stress caused by sleep, apart from what was mentioned earlier, having a carbohydrates heavy last meal can be helpful in inducing sleep due to the blood sugar spike and crash. Apart from these lifestyle interventions, there may be other interference to sleep that requires a medical specialist to address.


For digestion, apart from what was mentioned earlier, probiotics can be introduced if constipation or bloating still persist. Apart from these lifestyle interventions, there may be digestive system issues which lab stool testing would be wise to consider.


Emotional stress can be managed with pre-bedtime stress busting activities mentioned earlier. Also, there may be deeply rooted unresolved issues contributing to it.


Over-training can be addressed by reducing the volume of workout by half for better recovery and adaptation. Post workout magnesium and carbohydrates can be introduced to to promote muscle relaxation and recovery respectively.


In general, daily stress results in more tension and harder to relax, which can be addressed by supplements that aid in relaxation, like Magnesium. However, if daily stress is caused by behavioral and thinking patterns, then promoting unity in opposing thoughts, ie, Thought Coherence, should be the solution.


In the event of accumulated overall stress causing adrenaline fatigue whereby low energy level is experienced throughout most of the day, adrenals support supplements (like Vit C) can be helpful. In the event that the adrenal glands have issues that need to be addressed, then it would be wise to consider seeing a medical specialist.

Address Overall Stress overview

Sleep
Digestion
Emotional stress
Training
Daily stress
Adrenals support
Refer to "Sleep"
Refer to "Digestion"
Refer to "Stress busting activities"
Reduce training volume
Magnesium
Vitamin C
Carbs heavy last meal
Probiotics
Unresolved issues
Post workout magnesium
Thought Coherence
Adrenals Glands
Sleep interference
Digestive system issues
 
Post workout carbs
 
 

Conclusion

To conclude, chronic stress is a common problem faced by everyone at some point in life. Taking steps to manage it would help to safeguard one's overall health.


Among the different ways to manage chronic stress, which one do you think is most relevant to you? Share with me in the comments below!

Pain relief by Managing Chronic Stress

I do work closely with individuals to relief chronic and recurring pain by managing chronic stress as part of a holistic pain solution illustrated in my other article "Permanent Relief From Recurring Pain".

Contact me for more information if you are looking to manage chronic stress or overcome ongoing pain!

© 2019 Bing Xi

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