Life can be stressful. Work deadlines, financial pressures, relationship issues, health problems, and other challenges can keep you in a constant state of stress overload. While a little stress here and there is normal, chronic stress takes a toll on both your mental and physical health. The constant flood of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline cause systemic inflammation, deplete neurotransmitters like serotonin that regulate mood, interrupt sleep, and damage tissues and organs when left unchecked long-term.
If you feel trapped in chronic stress mode with anxiety, depression, weight gain, digestive issues, headaches, back pain, and constant exhaustion no matter how much rest and self-care you seem to get, it’s time for a full system reset. Here are powerful ways to reset your body from the inside out so you can get back on track with your health.
Adopt an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Stress leads to systemic inflammation, which causes damage when it becomes chronic. Adopting an anti-inflammatory diet is essential for resetting this stress response. Fill your diet with dark leafy greens, colorful vegetables high in antioxidants, plant-based proteins like lentils and beans, wild-caught fish high in omega-3s, fresh fruits high in vitamin C, bone broth, herbs and spices like turmeric and ginger, green tea, dark chocolate, nuts, olives, avocados, and extra virgin olive oil. These foods turn off inflammatory pathways and give your body the micronutrients it needs to heal.
At the same time, eliminate inflammatory foods – sugar, refined carbs, processed foods, alcohol, conventional dairy, factory farmed meat, artificial additives, vegetable and seed oils, gluten, coffee, eggs, corn, and anything you have a sensitivity or intolerance to. Making strategic food choices allows the body to direct its energy towards healing inflammation and tissue damage instead of constantly putting out fires.
Reset Your Gut
An unhealthy gut microbiome frequently comes with chronic stress. This disruption to your beneficial bacteria causes systemic inflammation, suboptimal nutrient absorption, permeability (leaky gut), and even mood changes.
Focus on healing foods that nourish gut bacteria – fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and unsweetened yogurt, bone broth, collagen peptides from bone broth, glutamine supplements to heal leaky gut, polyphenol-rich fruits and vegetables that feed good gut flora, and probiotic supplements if needed. Remove inflammatory foods that damage gut health – sugar, processed carbs, conventional dairy, and artificial ingredients.
Getting your gut microbiome into a healthy state is essential for full body and mind recovery from chronic stress and its effects. Optimizing this ecosystem and reducing permeability allow for proper nutrient absorption, reduced systemic inflammation, balanced neurotransmitter production, and an overall reset.
Lower High Cortisol
Chronically high cortisol levels from long-term stress exposure cause systemic havoc – increased inflammation and slowed healing, anxiety and depression, weight gain centered around the midsection, muscle loss, lowered immunity, sleep disruption, brain fog, and more.
Help reset runaway cortisol levels through stress relief practices like meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, spending time in nature, biofeedback, vagus nerve stimulation, and adopting an anti-inflammatory diet. Support healthy hormone balance by avoiding blood sugar spikes from sugary and refined carb foods, getting enough sleep, taking adaptogen herbs like ashwagandha and rhodiola rosea, and trying supplements that promote healthy cortisol rhythms like phosphatidylserine and glycine.
Exercise and Move Your Body
Exercise is a powerful way to reset your body, energy levels, mood, and cognitive function.Aim for a mix of high intensity interval training to stimulate growth hormone response, build lean muscle and burn body fat along with lower intensity mobility exercises to move your body optimally without added strain.
Prioritize at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise weekly as your baseline for maintaining health. Increase frequency and length of workouts to meet specific fitness goals. Just avoid overtraining, which acts as another stressor. Focus on recovery via stretching, foam rolling, massage, cold therapy, saunas, meditation, adequate protein intake, and 8+ hours of sleep nightly.
Movement of any kind – walking, yoga, hiking, swimming, strength training with weights, sprints, cycling, martial arts training, dance classes -has profound effects against inflammation, risk of chronic diseases, mood disorders, fatigue, weight gain, cardiovascular disease, metabolic dysfunction, and mortality. Simply standing and moving more daily in addition to dedicated workouts produces huge anti-aging and protective benefits.
The chronic stress response causes long-term damage mentally and physically. Use these reset tips – adopting an anti-inflammatory diet, healing your gut, lowering high cortisol, exercising regularly – to restart your body from the inside out so you can feel and function at your best once again.