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Beat the Stress

07 Feb 2020

Beat the Stress

Sometimes it can feel like the stressed state is just a normal way of being. We live in an environment where being busy is a status symbol. People are expected to be constantly available, packing in the productivity while effortlessly multitasking between roles. But stress is more than just a fleeting emotional state, your  body responds to it in a very physical way. 

Your nervous system has two divisions:

  • Your sympathetic nervous system (SNS) controls the body's "fight or flight" response.  It acts as the gas pedal when you experience a stressful event, triggering a cascade of stress hormones which make your heart beat faster to push blood to your muscles and other vital organs. 
  • Your parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) is responsible for the body’s “rest and digest” function. In theory it’s the brake pedal. 

Unfortunately, in periods of chronic stress it can be difficult to activate this “relaxation response”. When resting and digesting don’t happen that spells trouble for your body. In the short term stress can cause sleep interruptions, fuzzy-mindedness, mood swings and weight gain (especially around the middle). In the longer term, stress can weaken your immune system and put you at risk of mental illness, heart disease and some types of cancer. 

To effectively manage stress it’s important to have a variety of rejuvenation tools in your toolbox. Everyone relaxes differently – some people enjoy a lot of social contact and others prefer the company of a good book. Long-term reliable resilience comes from robust foundation habits – appropriate exercise, time in nature, good sleep habits and a high nutrient diet.

In some cases a supplement can help repair your overworked adrenal glands. If you think you could benefit from an additional stress management tool come into Life Pharmacy Takapuna to have a chat.


Claire Bellingham

Claire Bellingham is Life Pharmacy Takapuna's very own health columnist.  Claire has been a personal trainer at Les Mills Takapuna for 15 years and writes a monthly health column in Channel Magazine.