WHAT HAP­PENS WHEN...

...you work too hard?

Women's Health (UK) - - CONTENTS -

1 CALM YOUR­SELF

When your body senses a threat – whether that’s a shad­owy fig­ure or a loom­ing dead­line – it floods your brain with adren­a­line and cor­ti­sol, ready­ing you for fight or flight. The best rem­edy? Put this hor­monal surge to its in­tended use: a 20-minute run will utilise ex­cess adren­a­line and ease mus­cle ten­sion.

2 CRUNCH TIME

Stress trig­gers the hunger-block­ing hor­mone CRH. But over time, el­e­vated cor­ti­sol lev­els can have the op­po­site ef­fect. ‘Peo­ple eat to re­duce anx­i­ety,’ says Frank Bond, psy­chol­o­gist and pro­fes­sor at Gold­smiths Univer­sity of London. So snack smart with al­monds, which are packed with stress-bust­ing mag­ne­sium.

3 HEAD CASE

Brain fog de­scends as stress dis­en­gages the pre­frontal cor­tex, mak­ing it harder to think ra­tio­nally. If med­i­ta­tion doesn’t come eas­ily, dis­tract your brain. ‘You can train your at­ten­tion like a mus­cle,’ says Bond. ‘Sim­ply fo­cus­ing on song lyrics is a pow­er­ful way to take your mind off things.’ Don’t worry, be happy.

4 PRES­SURE DROP

If the words ‘pre­sen­ta­tion to the board’ make your chest tighten, that’s adren­a­line rais­ing your blood pres­sure to get you ready for a tus­sle. Re­set the bal­ance. ‘Fo­cus on breath­ing for a minute or so ev­ery two hours,’ sug­gests Pro­fes­sor Bond, who has helped Team GB ath­letes re­lax be­fore events. You’ll be golden.

5 BRAIN TRAIN­ING

In evo­lu­tion­ary terms, an out-of-hours call from your boss is the 2017 equiv­a­lent of a sabre-toothed tiger, and the threat re­sponse will con­tinue un­til your brain feels the dan­ger has passed. But mind­ful­ness tech­niques can im­prove your re­ac­tion to tense sit­u­a­tions in just eight weeks*. You’ll find plenty at wom­en­shealth­mag.co.uk.

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