Did you know that stress affects nearly 9 out of 10 French people?

Nowadays, we are inevitably exposed to stress and tension in our daily lives, both at work and at home. The reasons for this phenomenon are numerous, but we must not consider that all stress is harmful - it can also be positive.

Positive stress occurs when we step out of our comfort zone, for example before important moments. It does not have a detrimental effect on our body.

The truly harmful stress for health is continuous stress, often accompanied by exhaustion, low morale or even loss of appetite.

To understand the functioning of negative stress and better apprehend it, we interviewed Mélodie (@insideoutbymelodie), a certified naturopath and yoga teacher, specialized in stress management.

Can you explain why negative stress has such a detrimental impact on our health?

There are 3 phases of stress: the alarm phase, the resistance phase, and the exhaustion phase.

The alarm phase is that of natural stress (accelerated breathing, sweaty palms). Hormones are then released so that our body can react immediately. Right after the alarm phase, other mechanisms will come into play: this is the resistance phase. The body will then act as if its survival is threatened and secrete other hormones such as dopamine or serotonin.

There are 2 types of reactions during this phase: the person acts to solve the problem (positive stress) or the person is unable to eliminate the consequences caused by the stress. If the reaction has allowed to cope with the stress: the hormonal balance is restored.

A craving for sugar or hunger is felt because the body's sugar has been mobilized to manage the situation. If the reaction does not solve the problem, the body enters the exhaustion phase, which can lead to depression, burnout and illness.

The consequences can be physical (headaches, digestive disorders), mental (decreased concentration) or behavioral (aggressiveness, irritability).

What role does diet play in stress management?

Diet plays an important role in stress management: like all the organs in our body, the nervous system needs to be properly nourished. However, there are many people who do not eat properly and do not provide all the essential nutrients to their body: processed food, out-of-season products, sodas, sugar, refined cereals... An imbalanced diet often leads to deficiencies, which can have multiple physiological as well as emotional consequences. Diet is therefore one of the key points in stress management.

What foods should we favor to regulate our stress?

Certain foods can help avoid the deficiencies caused by stress. Remember the resistance phase I talked about earlier? During this phase, hormones such as serotonin or dopamine are released. During or before stressful periods, I therefore recommend favoring foods that are precursors to the hormones released during stressful phases.

For example, serotonin or the famous "happiness" hormone is produced thanks to an amino acid, tryptophan. It is found in cocoa or bananas. The secretion of dopamine, on the other hand, can be stimulated by foods rich in tyrosine, another amino acid. You can find it in chocolate, but also in almonds, to name a few. A spoon of Choco Nuts Honey Soufflé® can therefore be a very good way to start your day during stressful periods! Honey also has a positive action on mood and has soothing properties, making it the perfect indulgent ally.

You recently released your Inside Destress training, can you tell us what aspects you cover in this program?

It is an online program  that I designed in synergy with other therapists to provide a variety of tools to learn how to manage stress on a daily basis. There is naturopathy, yoga, sophrology, Qi Gong and Chinese energetics. I designed it as an anti-stress toolbox: nutrition, gentle physical activity, emotion management, natural easy tips, lifestyle advice... Customizable thanks to the consultations.

I also launched the Destress Workshops in Paris, for those who want to go further! By the way, I offer a tasting of whipped honey there to start the day right.

You can find Mélodie on Instagram (@insideoutbymelodie) as well as on her website Inside Out !