Stress is a common word in our society and it is thrown around in everyday language like it’s a normal state, like happiness. While it is true that we live in a fast paced society-STRESS definitely is NOT a state that are bodies are designed to constantly sustain for long periods of time. It is important to take initiative to get a handle of this element in our lives, in order to live longer and happier!
However, stress is beneficial in certain contexts, for example it will keep you alive in face of threat or disaster. The ‘fight-or-flight’ instinct is quite proficient in providing a state of physical and mental readiness, the response prepares the body to either fight or flee the threat.
It is also important to note that the response can be triggered due to both real and imaginary threats.
With real threats this can save your life. With imaginary threats this will take a toll on your body with health consequences, sometimes quite severe. If you are unable to take the time to appropriately calm yourself, it can have a negative and instant impact on your body.
First your nervous system gets triggered and gets kicked into high gear. Once this happens, additional responses will directly fall in behind this activity in order to assist in the maintenance of the nervous system and the signals that it is distributing back and forth between the nerves, brain, and other areas in the body. The blood pressure levels in the body will increase and this can possibly result in the development of heart disease, failure of vital organs such as the kidneys, failure of the heart, and even stroke!
Stress can often affect mental health as some of the most common psychological symptoms include mood swings, mental exhaustion, the inability to concentrate, confusion, depression, and Insomnia just to name a few.
Imagine living in that state daily…
When I was in my early 20’s I experienced the effects of mental, emotional and physical stress first hand. I suffered from very low self-esteem, was bulimic and married to a philandering, alcoholic and eventually went through a divorce.We were both very young, carried our own baggage and did unhealthy things to ourselves and each other. If you have ever been through a divorce, that is an emotional rollercoaster, especially when you are not prepared with how to deal with emotions and believe that hiding them is the proper thing to do. It was heart breaking, gut wrenching and stressful.I had three lawyers at the time, my divorce lawyer, immigration (dealing with Canadian Alien Status-yes I was an alien-always loved that term), and personal injury (was in a car accident years prior where my car was totaled and went to physical therapy).
I had a complete meltdown
While not all at once, during the course of that time period and in that relationship I had a nervous breakdown, was on anti-depressants, created asthma problems and became asthmatic, relapsed into bulimia, wore a heart monitor for my irregular heartbeat, and also took medication for anger induced headaches.Some people don’t listen when they hit moments like this and it can send them to an early grave.
THAT was a wakeup call for me and my health.
Your body is talking to you all the time, are you paying attention?
Here are some things that you can do right now to gain control of your stress level.
Just by taking in a few long breaths we become more present and centered. When we are running in our heads we disconnect from our bodies. Focused breathing connects us back to our bodies.
Majority of our stress is self-induced. Sometimes we have too much on our plate and are unable to get things done, which causes stress. Delegate and communicate what you need.
Your emotions are your guide, when used effectively. Learn how to respond, instead of react. Instead of becoming overly defensive or angry, ask yourself, “what does this mean”? More often than not is a matter of miscommunication, or misunderstanding.
Energy goes where attention flows. What you focus on expands. It is common to get stuck in the cycle of worry or anxiety. When you put your energy on what you want to happen, even if it doesn’t end up the way you hoped, you use your energy much more wisely and can adapt.
Activity is one of the greatest ways to release the built up energy. Take a walk, run, cycle, dance, do a jumping jack, just move. Our bodies are meant to move and stagnation is horrible for our overall health and causes stress on our bodies and mental/emotional health.
We are bombarded with information constantly, and along with what we deal with what is going on in our personal and work lives. Sometimes you need to clean your mental house! Clearing your mind, or training your mind is one of the most healing and calming things you can do for yourself and reduce stress. Feel free to take a meditative moment with one of my videos on a mini meditation mind vacation. Click here to view and listen to the magical forest. A great way to clear and quiet your mind.
Stress manifests itself in myriad ways. The key is to know your body well enough, by listening to it and investigating prior symptoms, to discern whether these imbalances are due to illness or emotions. The quicker you identify the problem, the easier it will be on your body.
I spent over 14 years in the area of holistic health in massage therapy. It’s interesting that many people take better care of their cars than they do their own body, which is their lifetime vehicle.
All the money in the world cannot purchase a new body when it’s run down. Your body is your vehicle in this lifetime. Invest in ways now to keep it running smoothly along your path.
Start by simply taking a long breath in…..and breathe out.