We have all heard about anxiety: what causes it, what it does to us.
Today’s article will provide you a brief history about how stress affects our mind and body and give you practical choices for de-stressing and handling the stress that’s part of most everyone’s life. I remember being 9 years old and hearing Norman Vincent Peale say that’ the only individuals who do not have problems (stress) are those lying at the cemetery’.
Our nervous systems are intended to keep us alive and safe. In cave men days, we might encounter a wild animal that had been among our predators. We’re intended to’fight’ or’flee’ when a predator threatens us. In other words, our brains release neurochemicals which make us quickly (so we could run away from the predator – flee) and powerful (so we could fight and kill our predator). This explosion of’stress hormones’ as we now refer to them will be instantaneous, and then go away quickly as the need disappears.
Think of the adrenal rush you feel when you nearly have an auto accident. You do not need to consider releasing the adrenal gland, it occurs automatically once you feel threatened by an oncoming vehicle. It makes you more alert and speeds up your reaction time so that you can safely avoid the crash. And then, it goes off very quickly after the episode and you unwind.
In our society we seldom encounter real predators that threaten our lives. Instead we confront chronic’stressors’ that activate the same’flight or fight’ response that a predator could activate. And rather than moving away fast, the stress hormones remain high in our systems nearly always. These identical stress hormones which work so well to help us survive in a dangerous situation become a danger to our health when they remain chronically high.
Stress hormones are released when: you are feeling pressured by time, always in a hurry with too much to do; you have discussions with your spouse, children or your own boss; you do not have sufficient cash; you worry about your health; you’re vulnerable to toxins in your food and environment; you get frustrated dealing with bureaucracy; you lay in bed at night (when you ought to be relaxed) with your ideas racing about all of the things you will need to get done. Phew! It’s stressful merely to think about these things.
ACTION The best way to counter these present sources of stress in your life
You will need to understand how important managing your anxiety is to your health and make it a priority. Recall being stressed is deadly! Have a look at the chronic stresses in particular that never get solved or that recur regularly.
Start looking for ways to change the stressful circumstances. By way of instance, if your job is extremely stressful, make adjustments that facilitate the stress, and speak with your boss about options for change. When it does not work, start searching for a less stressful job situation. Your life depends upon it.
Understand how you react to stress and to learn how to manage your response. Do you feel overwhelmed, angry, frustrated, stressed, or hopeless? Various people will react differently to the same stressor. Some folks become very angry at seemingly minor matters while others never seem to get angry. Remember the name of Richard Carlson’s book Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.
Pay attention to your own thoughts. Should you worry constantly, you’ll be in a continuous survival mode. Stress and anger release stress hormones. Learn how to manage your thoughts. Replace stress or negative thinking with calm, positive ideas.
This calms the brain and the body and helps to reduce the amount of stress hormones in the body. By controlling your breathing you regulate your stress hormones. It works!
Exercise regularly. Find an exercise that you like and match it in everyday. While you’re exercising, watch your own thoughts. If you spend the entire time feeling angry about something and running it over and over in your head, you will negate a few of the benefits of the exercise.
Speak to someone about how you’re feeling. Don’t attempt to do it all alone. When you discuss your feelings with someone else you’ll feel much better. And they might have some excellent suggestions for assisting you to de-stress.
Design your life so you’re doing just those things that only you can do. By way of instance, if you’re in business, concentrate on serving your customers and attracting more customers and nothing else. Get a helper to answer the telephone, manage your emails, do the accounting, etc.. In the home, get some cleaning aid, use Stop and Shop Peapod to get your groceries delivered to your home, and hire someone to mow your yard.
Eat a nutritious diet on a regular schedule. Do not skip meals. Ensure that you are getting all the nutrients your body has to handle stress. Eat organic foods whenever possible to lower your toxic load. Eat only the calories you will consume daily.
Nurture yourself. Get a great night’s sleep. Relax in a hot bath or spa. Read a fantastic book. Watch a popular movie. Listen to a relaxing or cheerful music. Go out to dinner with a few friends. Play a game with your children. Sing. Watch a fantastic comedian. Get outside and allow nature rejuvenate you.
A therapist can help you know yourself better and help you explore options for altering the stressful situation and how you react to stress. They’ll help you manage your thoughts and feelings.
Experiencing chronic pain is quite stressful and places the body in survival mode. If necessary get expert help for pain control.
Neurofeedback is a form of biofeedback on brainwaves that teaches your mind to regulate itself . It’s approved by the FDA for stress control. Read my next newsletter to find out how to’Change Your Mind’ so you’re not stuck in an non-productive, stressful thinking pattern.