What is Stress and how can we deal with it?
What is stress?
Essentially stress is our bodies natural reaction to fear. It is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands in response to some form of fear. It is commonly known as our fight or flight mode response. The cortisol is produced to help us either stand up and fight or helps us to run away really quick. Its that boost of adrenaline. Unfortunately in our modern times, this mechanism is in play everyday. We are constantly in some form of fear or stress mode and our bodies are constantly producing cortisol.
This is not good if we are not using it. If it goes unused the cortisol stays in our blood and wreaks havoc in our mind and body.
Elevated cortisol levels interfere with our learning ability, our memory, it lowers immune function, reduces bone density, increases weight gain, blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease and it also increases the risk for depression, mental illness and lowers life expectancy.
How can we deal with stress?
Fortunately we have many great ways to help use up all of this extra cortisol in our blood including:
- Exercise – any type of exercise is great but to really release that cortisol we need to hit the fight or flight mode type exercises. Anything where you physically get to hit something is an amazing stress reliever. Punching and kicking bags in a boxing, kickboxing or martial arts class is one of the best ways to do this. Running, cycling or walking for about 30mins is also great to help use up that cortisol.
- Qigong / Tai Chi / Yoga / Meditation – All of these are also amazing at reducing cortisol levels. The commonality of these four is breathing and mindfulness. Taking just a few deep breaths helps to engage the Vagus nerve which triggers a signal within your nervous system to slow your heart rate, lower blood pressure and reduce cortisol. These breathing exercises really help to address that fear state. Practicing Tai Chi / Qigong / Yoga / Meditation helps to really reduce the amount of time you are even in that fear mode so that you will not be producing cortisol in the first place! This is really powerful!
- Other tips include social interaction, having fun, laughing, smiling and listening to music that you love.
If stress is something that you are concerned about, why not come and give our classes a go?
We have the Shaolin Kung Fu, Fitness Kickboxing, Tai Chi and Qigong classes available.
Book in your Free trial to get started today!