If You Are Breathing, You Are Dealing With Stress... We are ALL dealing with stress. Work, life, tragic events and just being human, stress is a part of our lives. But recognizing it and understanding how our bodies react to it, may help you to deal with it more effectively and do something about it...
First of all, not all stress is a bad thing. Our bodies are designed to react to stress to save our lives - think "fight or flight" which creates that burst of adrenaline to give us the strength to get out of harms way quickly, or motivates us to take action. But of course other times, stress can cause us to feel helpless, depressed or frozen. So it's a double edged sword and if we remain in the chronic stress phase, we can not only feel the emotional effects, but our physical bodies take the hit as well.
There are different reactions that our bodies take to stress , so maybe if you recognize those reactions, it will help you more effectively deal with them. Initially, we begin with the fight or flight reaction at the first sign of feeling stressed. It's an automatic response and our bodies start to increase our heart rate and blood pressure as well as an increase in our stress hormones. We are designed to react this way, unfortunately this can become a chronic state and that is what starts to take a toll on our bodies.
The next phase is what is happening as our bodies try to adapt to the ongoing stress that doesn't seem to be going away. Anti-inflammatory hormones like cortisol are secreted because as we prolong the stress, we also increase inflammation in our bodies. The longer the chronic stress continues, the more you will notice those aches and pains, challenges with sleep, weight gain and exhaustion.
The goal is to recognize that since stress is a part of life, how we react to it is vital to our health. If you start to realize that you are relying on that alcohlic drink or drinks to relax, or using food as a way to "feel better," or feeling exhausted, depressed, or burned out most of the time, then it's time to take action. If you don't do something to help find the balance in your life, it will cost you. Please don't ignore the signs. Take action. What works for you? Yoga? Running or walking? The gym? Or maybe it's time to find a good therapist, work with a coach, try meditation, reach out to friends and family, or get a dog! Pets are proven to help release endorphins which are the "feel good hormones." Do whatever works for you to help bring more balance into your life. Aromatherapy is also a wonderful way to help calm your system - try essential oils like lavendar and chammomile to help soothe your nerves.
I'm not saying it's easy, but you don't have to let stress take control. Life is too short. You can do this! One step at a time and one day at a time, take good care of yourself and don't ignore the signs of chronic stress.
Until next time,
Here's to the road that lies ahead... Here's to You!