You can define stress by the bodies response to anything that causes it to move out of homeostasis.
Homeostasis is pretty much your bodies happy place.
Types of stressors include:
1. Environmental stress (Heat & cold)
2. Physiological stress (Intense exercise)
3. Energetic stress (Calorie restriction)
4.Psychological stress (money & work).
Stress isn't always negative.
How stress is created determines whether it has a positive or negative response on the body. Exercises stress is an example of positive stress. When the stress is short-lived, the body has time to recover and is stimulated to grow stronger from that stress. It’s only when too much stress occurs for an extended period of time that the body doesn’t have a chance to recover and it breaks down.
Think constant levels of work-related stress, financial stress and even prolonged calorie restriction (dieting for too long). This is negative stress.
Whilst there are different types of stressors on the body they all add up to the overall stress and cause the same general physiological and hormonal response.
The primary hormone relevant to stress is CORTISOL. And just like the types of stressors on the body and the way they are created, cortisol can too be positive or negative.
Short term stress and short pulses of cortisol can be beneficial whereas chronically elevated cortisol caused by long term stress is not. Short pulses of cortisol help the body adapt to stress over time, chronically elevated levels of cortisol can have a hugely negative impact on the body. Stress can be positive and negative, calorie restriction is a stressor. So with dieting, get in and get out as soon as possible, allow the body time to adapt, grow and recover.
For life stressors, work, finances, sleep deprivation, work on strategies to minimise this. Useful tools can be meditation, breathing techniques, (check out Tiger & The Monk)...
Walking, fresh air and vitamin D - all good for alleviating stress.
Set a nighttime routine and sleep hygiene - Sleep is one of the biggest things to impact stress, but is also the one thing people decide to give up to "fit more in"
Creating routines and habits will help you feel less overwhelmed and more in control.
There are numerous studies on sleep, stress and the impacts on metabolism.
To tackle your stress I would be first looking at your sleep. Doing a little bit each day to set a good night time routine, like with anything new, it takes time to form those habits. But it will have a positive domino effect on your life by just tackling this one thing.
Set a bedtime - keep it consistent and stick to it. Avoid late screen time. Set boundaries with your time and work. Have the bedroom just for sleeping (not working) Dim the lights, brush the teeth early and start to wind down hours before bed. Keep a note pad by the bed to brain dump if you wake with an active mind. A cool dark room is ideal.