Healthy practices such as eating a balanced diet, having enough rest and exercising regularly can do wonders for stress control. However, stress more likely makes us do just the opposite: we eat junk food, we don’t spend enough time for relaxation and we don’t exercise regularly. These things only create stress and worsen its effects on us.
We’re overwhelmed with busy lifestyles that we don’t know what to do.
To reduce the risk of diseases and other effects of stress, healthy lifestyle that includes behavioural interventions that minimise stress can be just as good for long-term health. Because, avoiding stress isn’t always possible for most of us, learning effective stress management or finding ways to reduce the effects of stress is something we essentially need.
What is SENSE Lifestyle Program?
SENSE Lifestyle Program is a scientifically-proven approach to controlling your body’s stress response to help you live a stress-free life. This program has five parts that work in synergy to deliver dramatic results.
SENSE stands for:
S = Stress management
E = Exercise
N = Nutrition
S = Supplements
E = Evaluation
Researchers from University of Zurich’s Institute of Psychology have shown that stress-management techniques can reduce stress, anxiety and cortisol exposure in actual stressful events. Long-term exposure to high cortisol can eventually make it hard for you to respond to stress normally and reduce cortisol levels.
Canadian researchers have shown that relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation can significantly and rapidly improve overall quality of life, stress symptoms and sleep quality in women with breast cancer and men with prostate cancer.
Researchers from Germany have shown that chronically-stressed individuals can benefit from simplified stress management (weekly yoga classes, for example), improving their stress levels, well-being, vigor, fatigue and depression.
Regular physical activity can help decrease some harmful effects of chronic cortisol exposure. During exercise, your brain releases dopamine and serotonin, chemicals that make you feel good. These chemicals are the reasons why you feel that “high” after a workout.
Research shows that exercising 30 minutes a day, 3 to 4 days a week, for 4 months can be equally effective as antidepressants in relieving symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Doing moderate exercise on a regular basis can help reduce body fat, strengthen bones and muscles, improve mental and emotional function, boost immunity and reduce appetite.
The exercise component of SENSE focuses more on improving metabolism to counter cortisol’s effect to reduce the body’s metabolic rate, rather than burning calories (which however is an additional benefit).
Proper diet can help fight inflammation while promoting tissue repair. Eating right is also an important part of reversing the effects of cortisol.
An anti-stress diet should compose of balanced intake of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, as well as vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.
For most of us, using certain dietary supplements is the only logical solution for overstress. There are supplements that can help control the body’s excessive exposure to cortisol. Cortisol levels typically rise before bed, first thing in the morning, following meals and during times we see as stressful. Normalising cortisol levels help reduce the harmful effects of stress, and taking the right combination of dietary supplements can be safe, effective and convenient way to do so.
Evaluation is a way for us to modify our exercise patterns, nutrient intake and supplementation regimen if necessary. If you’re experiencing stress that is higher than normal, you have to be especially careful about following each step of the SENSE program to maintain healthy cortisol levels. But if you’re enjoying a stress-free life, then you can be less vigilant about every aspect of the program. If this is the case, you can relax and enjoy the fruits of the healthy lifestyle you’ve created by following the SENSE program.
Once you’ve reached your goal, the healthy new habits you’ve developed and having experienced their benefits, you’ll be more motivated than ever to include them as a part of your daily life.