GOOD STRESS-BAD STRESS
Stress can be a crippling experience but when correctly managed it can be a very positive tool. The first step to success in any stressful situation is our ability to manage our stress. There are several factors that determine our capacity to manage and benefit from stress.
Let us look at “Exam Stress” as an example. In most cases of ‘Exam Stress’ the biggest problem is our fear of the unknown; our fear of what we have not covered in our preparation; our fear that we may be asked a question that we did not cover; our fear that we are going to fail. It is this fear of the unknown which does the most damage. To avoid this, the first step is to make sure that we make the most of the material that we have been presented with. We must take every bit of information available to us and make sure that we have understood and learnt it to the point where we have no doubts about it. We then need to make sure that we are able to use this information to get the best results. This is where our physical and mental state will play an important role. If we are healthy we will have the resources to manage our stress and use it to our best advantage.
STRESS-IT’S ALL IN THE MIND
What we feed our brain and nervous system plays a major role in determining our ‘mental and emotional fitness’. If we feed our brains on junk food, we have less chance of managing our stress and functioning properly. We need to make sure that we feed our brain for the marathon it is going to have to endure.
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
Your diet & your nutritional status are crucial to the process of attaining mental and emotional fitness. Just as a marathon runner pays a lot of attention to their diet and nutrient intake for physical and mental fitness, any person wanting to deal effectively with stress should also pay attention to their diet and nutrient intake. Here are a few basic guidelines.
Hypoglycaemia or low blood sugar levels can play havoc with our emotional state and mental capacity. Our brain needs energy, it requires glucose for energy. Refined carbohydrates will not benefit us. What we need are complex carbohydrates.
They will supply energy to our brain for longer periods of time. A starved brain starts to loose concentration.
FACTORS THAT REDUCE OUR POTENTIAL
• Unmanaged stress.
• High levels of unhealthy fats in diet.
• Low levels of healthy fats in diet.
• Low intake of green vegetables & fruit.
• High intake of refined carbohydrates & sugar.
• High alcohol intake.
• Insufficient exercise.
Ways to counter stress
• Learn Stress Management Techniques.
• Quit Smoking.
• Reduce intake of saturated fats, red meat is a good start. Use Olive Oil in salad dressing & supplement with Essential Fatty Acids.
• Go onto a regular exercise programme.
• Increase intake of fresh green vegetables, & replace refined carbohydrates & sugars with complex carbohydrates.
There are nutritional supplements that one can take to help counter stress.
The unfortunate thing about this world is that good habits are so much easier to give up than bad habits. Somerset Maughan
Submitted by Stuart Wilson
Tel: 076 359 2395