Are you a worrier? Do you find yourself getting stressed more often than you would like? Would you say that you suffer from some type of stress on a daily or weekly basis? Do you realise that it can massively affect your health and your ability to cope? Stress is a bodily reaction to a fear or danger….hormones are released to prepare us to escape danger or to fend off a threat. You may have heard of this being called our “Flight or Fight response.” There are definitely situations that require these responses….say, you arrive at a car accident and need to get in there and save people…your stress response with put you in “Action mode”…your strength will increase, your senses will sharpen and panic will be taken over by action. We have all seen or heard of stories of amazing heroic acts when the heroes don’t even know where their strength or ability to cope came from. It comes from Adrenaline and Cortisol, hormones that assist in our “Flight or fight response”. In an emergency these hormones are extremely
helpful in assisting us to cope, but on a daily basis the release of these hormones can be harmful. We are not built for constant stress or worry. These hormones stay in our body, they are not taken up to fend off or escape from impending danger. Small amounts of stress are okay but when we stress/worry too much, we actually affect our health.
Research shows that many illnesses can be directly linked to stress. What are some physical effects of stress?: pain; headaches; high blood pressure; sleep problems; depression; weight loss; weight gain; fatigue; diarrhoea/constipation; skins problems; digestive problems; you may resort to alcohol, cigarettes or drug usage to cope and a reduced immune system to name a few. We would
not knowingly wish these symptoms upon ourselves, but sadly in these busy and
hectic times we seem to create or allow a lot of our own stress. Our bodies
cannot tell the difference between a physical or mental stress; between a real
or imagined stress; between over worrying about minor issues and tackling
bigger concerns. So you may be really stressing over: a dentist visit; an argument; a workplace issue; a relationship worry; someone else’s problem; a bad hair day or road rage but to your body you may as well be being chased by a massive Great white shark. So what do we do?? If you are anything like me, I am definitely guilty of stressing over things that I know I shouldn’t. I have, over the past few years made a big effort to change my ways and hopefully stress way less now than I used to, but it is something I need to work on daily.
My top 10 tips to help in times of stress:
1.Acknowledge that you are stressing, are your feeling tense, moody,
overwhelmed? You cannot deal with something that you don’t acknowledge.
2. Ask yourself, “Is this issue worth affecting my health over?” chances are probably not.
3. Either do something about the cause or let it go….Confront it/take
steps to resolve it or forgive/let go and move on from it.
4. Is it even your issue to deal with? I am guilty of this one, I often find myself stressing over other people’s problems…When I start doing this, I now say to myself…NOT MY ISSUE and I refocus to whatever I am doing right there and then.
5. If you feel very stressed..Your stress hormones have already been released and your body is reacting…burn it off. Remember our flight or fight response…your body has released hormones to pump you up to run or attack…you need to burn off these hormones , so they are not left sitting in your system causing you possible harm…get on that treadmill…go for a walk…whatever but work it off. Studies have proven that exercise is a great stress reducer.
6. Keep things in perspective, be realistic and remember when you are stressing your body has no idea if you are imaging/creating a problem or if you are being chased by an angry pack of guard dogs. Get real about the issue.
7. Learn some relaxation/de stressing techniques: meditation; cooking; aromatherapy; deep breathing; reading; music…whatever works for you.
8. Get present, try to stop thinking about your issue and focus on whatever
task you are doing right now.
9. Try to leave work issues at work or make a “To do List” at the end of your day and tackle it tomorrow. Is stressing over things at work, helping your performance or productivity? Most probably, not?
10. Learn to say NO, when you are time poor….don’t take on too much. Your health is vital; others can find help
elsewhere if you say no.
It is ok for stress to be a small part of life, but happiness, enjoyment,
laughter, fun and connection with others should be a far greater part of your
life…..Try to balance things out and take loving, good care of yourself,
remember be you own best friend. Hope this helps????
You may need to seek professional help if you feel that you are overwhelmed, can’t cope or suffering from anxiety for a prolonged time.