Food and lifestyle coach Marjolein Dubbers is the author of the bestselling books ‘ Het Energieke Vrouwen Voedingskompas ‘ and ‘ Eat more energy ‘. She has inspired more than tens of thousands of women to change their diet. Marjolein Dubbers writes articles for Inspiring Life and tackles a problem every time. Today: Stress acts like sugar in your body and can be addictive.
How often do you answer the question how you are doing with the answer “good but too busy”. Who isn’t busy these days? Being busy has become a bit of a status symbol; if you are not busy then you are doing something wrong. Then you’re almost a loser. It seems like we’re all focused on our endless todo list. Did you know that you can be just as addicted to stress as you are to sugar?
Sugar and stress work in your body a bit the same
Sugar and stress have a similar effect in our bodies: they can both give you a boost of energy. That’s fine once in a while, but a long-term serving of it will destroy your body in the long run. Both a long-term portion of stress and a long-term portion of sugar.
If you eat sugar or any other form of sweets or fast carbohydrates, your body quickly converts this into glucose. Glucose is a form of fuel that your body, more precisely your mitochondria, can make energy very quickly. Your blood glucose rises, your body makes insulin to take it to your mitochondria which convert it into energy. An excess of fuel is stored in your fat cells: energy for the future.
All healthy processes are put ‘on hold’
Even with prolonged stress, your body wants to have plenty of energy: more energy means a greater chance of surviving a threat. That is why your body, more precisely your adrenal glands, produces the hormone cortisol during prolonged stress. Like sugar, cortisol causes your blood glucose to rise, which is carried to your mitochondria so they can make energy quickly. Muscle proteins are also broken down into amino acids, which are used by your liver and are also converted into glucose.
Meanwhile, all other healthy processes in your body are put on hold to give priority to the energy production process: your intestinal flora is disrupted, nutrients are no longer absorbed properly, your immune system is weakened and the removal of toxic substances is slowed down, to name just a few.
Being too busy is an addiction
Do you see the similarity between sugar and stress? So we can literally become addicted to continuous stress in our lives: it gives a boost of energy that is comparable to sugar. Kicking it can be just as difficult as kicking other addictions like alcohol, shopping, drugs, gambling, or any of those other addictions.
The big difference with all those other addictions, however, is that our society thinks it’s completely okay if you are busy. We have come to believe that being busy means being valuable, successful and doing a good job. And therein lies the greatest danger.
How do you get rid of the addiction ‘being busy’?
When we are busy we take less time to exercise or exercise, we spend less time outside, usually eat less healthily and usually sleep worse. In short: we start to feel worse and what do we fall back on if we don’t feel well? Exactly, the unhealthy sweet snacks that give us a short-term boost of energy! This completes the unhealthy circle.
The price of being busy forever is high. Very high. How do you break this pattern? Especially: how do you break this pattern when you are really busy? Because so many women also have (too) many tasks and responsibilities on their shoulders, in addition to wanting time for themselves, rightly so. Here are some small, practical tips that you can apply today.
1. Stop saying you’re so busy
If you keep telling others and yourself that you are busy, you will believe it. The thoughts in your head have a major impact on all the cells of your body, especially if you say them regularly. Your body believes everything your mind thinks; so be very attentive to which thoughts you allow into your head. Now resolve to never say you’re busy again. These days I say “I’m having a good time” and my body really likes that! It makes me feel very different.
2. Think about compliments and especially give them to yourself
Being busy often, especially with women, often stems from a deep feeling of ‘not being good enough’. Living as a woman in a world where male dominance has reigned supreme for 5000 years does us no good. Neither do men. It gives many women a feeling of being unworthy and so they just want to go the extra mile. Break this pattern by being aware of and enjoying all the compliments you receive. Bring them in, give them thanks, and most of all don’t forget to give them to yourself regularly.
3. Look back in time regularly and see how much you have done
This is a tip that I use a lot myself. For years I suffered from ‘sluggish snail syndrome’: the feeling that a week, or a month, flew by without getting essential things I wanted to do. Both business and private. I often felt like a ‘sluggish slug’. Now I regularly look 12 months back in time and can sometimes be really surprised at what I have accomplished in my slow snail pace! Regularly look back a year at where you were then, what you did then and how much you have accomplished. Appreciate yourself for that and know that you don’t have to run faster.
4. Do as much as possible with a smile on your face
A small but valuable tip. No matter how busy you are; add a smile. You can also fool all the cells of your body with this: if you have a smile on your face, your body will come to rest. Try it while you read this. Smile now. You will probably feel your shoulders drop and take a deep breath. A smile is a signal to all your body cells that life is okay; that there is less stress. How easy is it to just walk around with a smile a lot more often? Scientific research also shows that a smile on the face can reduce tension.
5. Put your mobile on silent often and don’t start a smartwatch
Women can’t multitask any more than men. I wrote an article about this before: Multitasking and switching: women’s brains are not built for this either. Having to switch back and forth between different tasks takes loads of energy. You get a lot more done if you focus on 1 task at a time. Therefore make sure that your mobile does not beep: the world can really go an hour without you. If necessary, check your mobile no more than once an hour to see if there is anything important. And above all, don’t buy a smartwatch: research shows that smartwatch users check their messages 150 times a day. Talk about an unhealthy addiction!
26 Energy Bites to Increase Your Energy and Reduce Stress
Don’t let your life be determined by the addictive effect of stress; take back control. Do you feel that you could use some help with this, then the online program 26 Energy Bites is something for you. With this you will receive valuable advice in your mailbox every week for the next six months, which will reduce stress and increase your energy. Click here and read more about this much appreciated program!