What is stress? and how to deal with it.

Stress is a normal and natural part of life

We encounter stress every day; driving to work, working toward a tight deadline, an upcoming wedding, managing big projects or complex tasks. A certain level of stress is healthy and can even be motivating. We all know that an extra adrenaline boost can help you perform better, finish your final paper or nail that presentation at work. This is the positive stress, the mental alertness when facing and overcoming a challenge at hand. Positive stress will leave you content and relaxed when it subsides and you can continue on the road towards your goals.

Distress – The negative stress

Whether or not we perceive stress as positive or negative is truly individual. Depending on our frame of references and general well being, how well we are prepared to deal with it. Negative stress, or distress as its referred to, can lead to changes in eating and sleeping patterns, mood swings, body aches and tensions, recurring colds. Often its a feeling of resistance or high pressure that many people try to push trough, that will probably lead to burnout!

How to deal with it

Either if its positive or negative stress, we simply must learn to to deal with in order to lead a more productive and happy life. You probably already have a set of tools. Some might be healthy, like taking a day off, hitting the gym, go for a hike or getting a massage. Some maybe not so healthy; “relaxing” in front of a smartphone screen, overeating or drinking an extra glass of wine or two.

It’s a good idea to have a variety of ways to reduce tension and deal with resistance so you always have something to reach for (besides food and alcohol) that offers relief. Here’s our number one tip you can start with today!

Our number 1 tip – Feel good hormones through physical exercise!

Exercise is one of the best ways to reduce tensions, stress and anxiety while giving you a sense of confidence and mastery when other parts of your life might feel out of control.

When you engage in physical activity, your body reacts by releasing endorphins. These endorphins are the stress hormones (cortisol) worst enemy. As the endorphins are increased you will start to feel more clear, energized and alert. Any form of exercise is better then none but high intensity training will give you that extra boost of feel-good neurotransmitters to elevate your energy and mood!

High intensity training is the most efficient remedy for stress

High intensity training like CrossFit will also be more effective and efficient since you will get the result in a shorter period of time. You will not only save time, by combining exercises and moving quickly, you also will get fitter in less time. As a bonus, the variety of exercises keeps your mind and body engaged and focused at the task at hand. The repetitive motions involved in a CrossFit routine also promote a focus on your body, rather than your mind.

When you lift weights, you not only strengthen your body, you build confidence and self-worth. That mental and physical strength makes life easier and that alone eases stress in all aspects.

Most people notice an improvement in their mood immediately after a workout. These feelings don’t end there, but grows stronger over time. Chances are, you will notice increased feelings of well-being as you stay committed to a consistent exercise routine.

Stay calm by letting off steam!

If you allow stress to build up without letting off steam, you will end up feeling irritated and angry enough to take it out on people who perhaps don’t deserve it (even though the Tesla who cut you off in the round-about really did deserve it?).

As you begin to regularly take care of your tensions through movement and physical activity, you may find that this focus on a single task, can help you remain calm and clear in everything else you do during your day. By improving your physical wellness and heart health, you’ll at least have two less things to feel stressed about!

Markus Helle-Pettersson

Want to learn more and dig deeper? Check out our webinar on reducing stress through lifestyle factors!