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2 Major Flaws in Your Diet That Cause Stress and Anxiety

2 Major Flaws in Your Diet That Cause Stress and Anxiety

How are you today?

‘Bit stressed out at the moment’

‘Not too bad, really tired though’

‘Feeling a bit spaced out today’

‘Not with it today’

‘Can’t seem it concentrate’

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‘I’m knackered’

Sound familiar? So often when I ask how someone is, I get these sort of responses. Often the main reason for this is the high level of stress hormones (adrenalin and cortisol) in our bodies. It’s a big problem because it’s stopping us from fully enjoying our lives.

What’s frustrating is your modern diet and eating patterns are probably one of the root causes for these high levels of stress hormones. It’s frustrating because it could be easily avoided.

I’m Going to let You into a Little Secret…

Before you think I’m having a go at you, I’m not at all, it’s not your fault. There’s a lot of confusing information out there and misleading marketing…

‘Carbohydrates are bad for you’ ‘But I have always been told they are our main energy source?’

‘Fats are good for you, eat more fat.’ ‘But wait, I was always told fats were bad?’

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‘You’re eating too much protein and dairy.’

Confusing right?

I’m going to let you into a secret. Come a little closer so you can hear me clearly…

It’s all a load of rubbish.

This is all misinformation that shouldn’t be taken at face value, and doesn’t take into account the individual. This is all created by money-hungry companies that don’t care about your health. They are just trying to confuse and scare you into buying a product!

Let’s shed some light on the situation…

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The Power 3

We all have what I call the ‘Power 3’ – hormones, neurotransmitters (chemical messengers in the brain) and the nervous system. The feelings and symptoms of stress and anxiety are created when one of these or all three are not functioning correctly.

But, the reason I call them the Power 3 is because when they are functioning correctly/optimally they also have the power to empty the body of these stress hormones to the correct level and create that feeling of serenity.

So, why I’m I talking about the Power 3?

Because your modern day diet has two major problems that is causing the Power 3 to not function correctly. Therefore creating those symptoms of stress and anxiety.

Have you ever wondered why you feel stressed and anxious out for no rational reason? It’s because something has triggered a negative response to your Power 3.

These two major problems are what I’m going to call ‘Negative Nutritional Triggers’ because they are triggering a negative response to your Power 3.

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The more these negative nutritional triggers creep into your diet, the more your body fills up with stress hormones, therefore inhibiting your Power 3. This can happen quickly or can be a slow build up over time. Either way, the outcome is the same. You get stressed out. You also leave yourself open to other mental health problems like depression and anxiety.

Negative Nutritional Trigger 1 – Modern diets create an energy imbalance throughout the day

This is mainly caused by ups and downs in sugar levels throughout the day. For example, breakfast is too imbalanced. Most people eat a breakfast that is imbalanced and overloaded with refined carbohydrates. This creates an up and down effect on your sugar levels. This increases stress hormones as the body tries to balance out its sugar levels,  therefore putting stress on the Power 3. I’m not for one moment saying carbs are bad, just that imbalanced meals are.

Solution: Eat a balance of fats, protein, carbohydrates and fibre in every meal.

Negative Nutritional Trigger 2- Modern diets create an imbalance of gut bacteria

Often our diet is filled with foods that trigger a negative response to our gut. This is because so many of the foods we eat these days are too high in processed ingredients that are completely unnatural to the body. This imbalances bacteria in the gut and disrupts how well the Power 3 function through something called the gut-brain axis.

Solution: Avoid something I call ‘Negative Trigger Foods’. To start with, just check the label on foods. The more processed the food is, the more it will increase stress.

Motivational Energy

If you are someone who suffers with stress and anxiety, I hope you found this article useful and have some Motivational Energy. “Motivational Energy” is how I describe that small burst of mental clarity you get when you realise what you have to do to get something you want – the light bulb is suddenly switched on. The problem is, Motivational Energy doesn’t last long before the light bulb goes out. So what’s important is what you do right now to put this motivation to good use.

Things like stress, anxiety and depression are on the rise and the problem is getting worse. I believe these ‘Negative Nutritional Triggers’ are a big reason why. They should not be ignored. If you’re feeling a bit stressed or anxious, put your motivational energy to good use, try out the solutions I listed to get yourself started.

Remember, if you are experiencing symptoms of stress or anxiety, always seek medical advice and talk to a doctor. These things are nothing to ashamed of. If you found this useful please like and share, as it might help someone else going through the same thing. We can beat things like stress and anxiety together.

More by this author

Ben Jones

Fitness Coordinator

We Feel Empty Because Our Bodies Aren’t Evolved to Cope With the Current Lifestyle How Not to Let Negative Thoughts Trump the Positive Vibes The 20-Minute Morning Routine That Relieves Anxiety The 10-Minute Daily “Lifestyle Trigger” That Relieves Anxiety and Depression 2 Major Flaws in Your Diet That Cause Stress and Anxiety

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Last Updated on September 10, 2018

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

We thought that the expression ‘broken heart’ was just a metaphor, but science is telling us that it is not: breakups and rejections do cause physical pain. When a group of psychologists asked research participants to look at images of their ex-partners who broke up with them, researchers found that the same brain areas that are activated by physical pain are also activated by looking at images of ex-partners. Looking at images of our ex is a painful experience, literally.[1].

Given that the effect of rejections and breakups is the same as the effect of physical pain, scientists have speculated on whether the practices that reduce physical pain could be used to reduce the emotional pain that follows from breakups and rejections. In a study on whether painkillers reduce the emotional pain caused by a breakup, researchers found that painkillers did help. Individuals who took painkillers were better able to deal with their breakup. Tamar Cohen wrote that “A simple dose of paracetamol could help ease the pain of a broken heart.”[2]

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Just like painkillers can be used to ease the pain of a broken heart, other practices that ease physical pain can also be used to ease the pain of rejections and breakups. Three of these scientifically validated practices are presented in this article.

Looking at images of loved ones

While images of ex-partners stimulate the pain neuro-circuitry in our brain, images of loved ones activate a different circuitry. Looking at images of people who care about us increases the release of oxytocin in our body. Oxytocin, or the “cuddle hormone,” is the hormone that our body relies on to induce in us a soothing feeling of tranquility, even when we are under high stress and pain.

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In fact, oxytocin was found to have a crucial role as a mother is giving birth to her baby. Despite the extreme pain that a mother has to endure during delivery, the high level of oxytocin secreted by her body transforms pain into pleasure. Mariem Melainine notes that, “Oxytocin levels are usually at their peak during delivery, which promotes a sense of euphoria in the mother and helps her develop a stronger bond with her baby.”[3]

Whenever you feel tempted to look at images of your ex-partner, log into your Facebook page and start browsing images of your loved ones. As Eva Ritvo, M.D. notes, “Facebook fools our brain into believing that loved ones surround us, which historically was essential to our survival. The human brain, because it evolved thousands of years before photography, fails on many levels to recognize the difference between pictures and people”[4]

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Exercise

Endorphins are neurotransmitters that reduce our perception of pain. When our body is high on endorphins, painful sensations are kept outside of conscious awareness. It was found that exercise causes endorphins to be secreted in the brain and as a result produce a feeling of power, as psychologist Alex Korb noted in his book: “Exercise causes your brain to release endorphins, neurotransmitters that act on your neurons like opiates (such as morphine or Vicodin) by sending a neural signal to reduce pain and provide anxiety relief.”[5] By inhibiting pain from being transmitted to our brain, exercise acts as a powerful antidote to the pain caused by rejections and breakups.

Meditation

Jon Kabat Zinn, a doctor who pioneered the use of mindfulness meditation therapy for patients with chronic pain, has argued that it is not pain itself that is harmful to our mental health, rather, it is the way we react to pain. When we react to pain with irritation, frustration, and self-pity, more pain is generated, and we enter a never ending spiral of painful thoughts and sensations.

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In order to disrupt the domino effect caused by reacting to pain with pain, Kabat Zinn and other proponents of mindfulness meditation therapy have suggested reacting to pain through nonjudgmental contemplation and acceptance. By practicing meditation on a daily basis and getting used to the habit of paying attention to the sensations generated by our body (including the painful ones and by observing these sensations nonjudgmentally and with compassion) our brain develops the habit of reacting to pain with grace and patience.

When you find yourself thinking about a recent breakup or a recent rejection, close your eyes and pay attention to the sensations produced by your body. Take deep breaths and as you are feeling the sensations produced by your body, distance yourself from them, and observe them without judgment and with compassion. If your brain starts wandering and gets distracted, gently bring back your compassionate nonjudgmental attention to your body. Try to do this exercise for one minute and gradually increase its duration.

With consistent practice, nonjudgmental acceptance will become our default reaction to breakups, rejections, and other disappointments that we experience in life. Every rejection and every breakup teaches us great lessons about relationships and about ourselves.

Featured photo credit: condesign via pixabay.com

Reference

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