Our bodies are very clever pieces of finely tuned equipment, which if not maintained correctly start to misfire and run a bit slower than usual. The hormone called Cortisol helps to replenish your body after a stressful situation. Nowadays we have an unfortunate tendency to ‘stew’ over situations without ever expending the calories we would have used in the past. So for a caveman the stress would have been a sabre-toothed tiger and we would have run like Forrest Gump, a modern-day stress is more likely to be a comment, an email and rather than running we sit stewing over the it more and more.
The body doesn’t understand that you aren’t going to run, so it sends a hormonal signal to your brain to replenish nutrition stores by making you want to eat. The body stores these supplies in a place where it knows it can store in larger quantity. It stores it as ‘Visceral fat’ which tends to be around your waist.
Now here’s the annoying thing. If a further stressful situation occurs, the muscles send out a signal for fuel, asking for sugar. Hence the reason you start to crave carbohydrates when stressed. To transport sugar from our blood to our muscles requires the hormone, insulin. High levels of sugar and insulin in the blood can send a message to the brain to store fat. The body wants to be prepared for running away from the next ‘sabre-toothed tiger’ that comes along, which also goes by the name of the ‘boss’, ‘the gossips’, ‘the rude message’, the list could go on.
So how can we deal with these stresses?
Exercise can burn off excess calories. It can also produce various biochemicals that can counter the negative effects that stress hormones have, helping in turn to control levels of insulin and sugar.
Relaxation can produce chemicals within the brain that can counter the effect of stress. If you feel you can’t relax easily, try hypnotherapy, mindfulness, yoga, or meditation.
A balanced diet includes never skipping meals. This helps balance blood sugar levels, inhibiting insulin production and reducing cortisol levels. I have daily conversations with people who do not eat enough food. Here’s a tip. That’s a stress to the body. It thinks the world food supply is ending and thinks it should tell your body to store more.
Finally sleep. Poor sleep leads cortisol levels to rise. Make sure you have a good night’s sleep.
So to sum it up:
· Find a way that suits you to release the stress.
· Eat a balanced healthy diet to stop the hormones taking control in a negative way.
· Allow your body to recover and regenerate through sleep.
If you need some more help, look at my page on Hypnotherapy for Self-Belief.
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In the last week or so I've spoken to a lot of people who have suffered from, or are going through some form of depression.
One of the biggest things that came across is they don’t want sympathy. What they often want is just an ear to listen.
Depression can feel like the loneliest place in the world. You can be in a room full of people, hiding behind a mask of smiles and laughter, but inside feeling like a person trapped on a desert island not knowing which way to escape.
So as a friend how can we help? It’s not always easy to know if someone is depressed. Hiding behind ‘a happy mask’ is something that depressed people I have spoken to have told me that they do. Take five minutes with all your friends for an extra chat. It can sometimes help them to lift the mask up and let their feelings surface.
Acknowledge. Chat with your friend. Say you’ve noticed they’ve been a bit quiet lately. Give them reassurance that you’re there for them when they’re ready to talk.
Don't pretend it's not there or that it is not a serious condition. It can be very debilitating for the person involved. A comment like this can make them feel even more insignificant and that people aren’t taking their problem seriously.
Don’t bring up their problems in front of other people. It can be very damaging to your friendship and to them.
Sometimes it's just about listening. Listening without judgement or giving advice. Don’t see crying as a weakness. The person involved would like nothing better than to feel happy again and be themselves.
Never call a problem stupid or tell them that it is nothing to worry about. It may stop them talking to others also, leading to a potentially even worse situation.
The important thing is to be there. Be genuine, don’t lie to them. Don’t tell them things and not really mean them. A hug or simple ‘I’m here for you, if that’s okay’. Tell them how much you value their friendship and that you care about their life.
Depression makes people feel worthless and not needed. Be there to reassure that person that they really matter and that you want to help.
Don't be afraid to help them find the right help they need.
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Do you sit reading fairy tales to your children, or remember childhood, tales of princesses, knights and happy ever afters?
Life really is like a fairy tale - we just forget to see it that way sometimes. How? Well let’s take that story of the Princess and her ‘evil’ stepmother and how the Princess was banished to the forest to be executed.
So the Princess’s life started off happily, playing in the castle without a care in the world, surrounded by people she loved, feeling safe and secure.
Life events, such as the loss of her mother, meant her life was turned upside down. Not only losing someone she dearly loved but also feeling like an outsider in her own place of safety.
Fast forward a few years and jealousy from her stepmother meant the princess was outcast from the castle.
Did this make the Princess bitter and angry? No. She adapted to her new role, not judging others (like the Dwarves) for their size, attitudes or life choices.
Eventually she did meet her Princess Charming just by being herself.
If we look back and think about most fairy tales we only remember the good parts. The Princess, the friendships she made. But if you look at almost any fairy tale, the main character had to overcome a lot of adversity to get there.
Isn’t it about time you took control of your own fairy tale? Not blaming others for the last chapter but realising you really can make your fairy tale have its own happy ending?
If you need help writing that next chapter in your book, why not consider hypnotherapy? Think of hypnotherapy as a perfect pair of reading glasses that helps you to see the pages for what they really are, just a story where you really do have control of having that…
‘Happy ever after’.
Becky lives in West Sussex, UK and is a Therapist using hypnosis, Psy-TaP, Kinetic Shift and Mindscaping. Please feel free to explore the website to learn more about her.