Stress Less (or more)! It’s all about Management!

by: Cam

Everyone experiences stress - as a human, this is natural. It’s key for survival and without it we would be bored, depressed and unmotivated. However, did you know that stress may be the major factor holding you back from achieving your health and wellness goals?

It’s a very easy thing to say that we should all manage stress, but the difficulty comes from finding strategies and methods that actually work for you! Before we can manage stress, it’s important to understand it; the good and the bad, and the kind of impacts it can have on different parts of our bodies.

Positives to Stress:

Stress is known as a negative; the enemy and the one thing no one wants in their busy lives. In reality, stress can actually be one of the most positive forces to keep you focused and energised. It all depends on how you view stress and how willing you are to use it to your advantage.

When you sense danger - physically, mentally or emotionally - stress seems to kick into a higher gear. This may also be commonly known as the “fight or flight” response, as it’s your body’s way to protect itself. Have you ever wondered how a normal person manages to lift a car off a child or how you feel an urge of sudden motivation when you realise your exam is only a few hours away? This is stress at its finest and we have designed our THE REALM programs to target and manage exactly this in order to use stress for our personal advantage.

Negative Stress:

If I asked you to write down everything that caused you stress, would you feel overwhelmed? Do the number of stressful things outweigh the amount of calming influences you have? It is important for your body to be balanced nutritiously, physically and mentally in order to live a happy and healthy lifestyle, and managing negative stress is a huge part of this.

I was doing some reading on the impacts of stress on the body and came across an interesting fact - did you know that anxiety increases your cortisol levels? You might be thinking, what is that and why do I care? Cortisol actually causes fat to build up in your stomach (think of those unwanted fat rolls) and increased levels actually do lead to an increase in weight! The longer you feel stressed and anxious, the more your body naturally gains weight.

Here’s a quick infographic that captures stress as it relates to the main bodily organs:



As you can see, negative stress impacts your health in a number of ways, however two particularly stand out to me as being the most important to be aware of as you embark on your health and fitness journey.

Decision Making Process

When stressed, the frontal lobe of your brain is seriously impacted. The frontal lobe has several jobs, the major job being the decision making process. This goes back to the “fight or flight” response that stress causes, which we discussed earlier. An example of this might be commonly found if you’re feeling stressed after a long and busy day of work. You might decide that you’ve “had a long and hard day” and would prefer to sit on the couch instead of changing and working out during one of the THE REALM live streams! Stress can make you feel more fatigued and tired, which can be detrimental to your fitness goals - remember your 5W’s!!! But, if you are aware that this is your body’s reaction, you can come up with strategies to ensure you are still motivated and energized to exercise, even after a stressful day! I have listed some of my favorite techniques below - just keep reading!

Digestive System 

What you may not realise is that stress also has an incredibly detrimental impact on your digestive system. When you’re stressed, the level of stomach acid increases. Because of this, the nutritious meal you prepared earlier will be allocated to break down this acid and therefore doesn’t give the body the minerals and proteins the food was intending to provide. This can, over a period of time, cause many health issues such as:

  • your bones, muscles, tissues and organs not getting the amount of minerals and vitamins they need;

  • muscle loss;

  • lack of energy and concentration; and 

  • poor recovery time.


Therefore, being able to control, manage and prevent major stress from your life is one of the most important attributes you can attain, no matter what your health and fitness goals may be, or what level of expertise you may have. Once you accomplish this, the sky is the limit as to what you can achieve!

So what can I do about my stress?

Everyone manages stress differently, so experiment with different strategies to find out what works for you! Here are a few techniques I find help me relieve or at least reduce my stress levels:

Technique 1 – Take up an enjoyable hobby (at least once a week): This could be anything. You’ll not only get some time to focus on something that brings you joy, but you’ll also be around people whose company you enjoy!

Technique 2 – Spend time outside daily, embracing the environment around you.

Technique 3 – Practice being alone: Turn off your phone and go somewhere, maybe out to dinner, a movie or a hike. You are with yourself always and forever. The more we can learn to enjoy our own company, the better.

Technique 4 – Meditate / pray / quietly reflect (any word you prefer) in the morning, before bed or whenever suits you. Be stress free for any challenges the day might throw at you. 

Technique 5 - Include low impact movement (e.g. THE REALM relax and recover session, yoga, walking, swimming, etc.).

Technique 6- Take deep breaths, especially focusing on a long breath-out. This immediately calms your stress response.

Technique 7- Try a mind-body scan: Set aside five minutes. Start at your toes and slowly move up to the top of your head. Notice all physical sensations: hot / cold, itchy, tense, etc. Do this anywhere at anytime. This will calm down your body and help you slow down. Ask yourself these questions - What are you feeling physically/emotionally? What are you thinking? What have you learnt about yourself today?

These seven simple strategies will go such a long way in shaping your ability to manage stress. Just remember: Stay strong against fatigue, stay motivated to workout even after a long day and stay connected to your breathing! 

Keep checking back in to The Realm to stay up to date on all things fitness, health and wellbeing. Our community at THE REALM is here to support you and your goals to ensure you stay on track to become the best version of yourself you can be! 


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