We all feel it, and it seems there is more than enough stress to go around especially now that the holiday season is upon us. There are ways to calm your body, mind & emotions to stress less.
Stress is a physical, emotional, or mental strain caused by a good or bad internal or external condition. When we think of stress, the word usually conjures up the thought of dis-stress or a bad kind of pressure on our body, our emotions, or our mental capacity. But stress of the good kind, or eustress, also can cause a pressure on our body, our emotions, and our mental capacity. Both types of stress over a long period of time can cause our bodies to struggle to balance and function at its optimal level.
Stress causes a reaction, good or bad, in our bodies and forces our systems to alter “normal” functioning, or what should be normal functioning. A key point to remember is that although the symptoms we may be experiencing may be common, they are not normal.
Stress correlates with what we think of the good or bad pressure. How you perceive stress also determines how it affects your body, your emotions, and your mental capacity. Whether it is a good or bad stress, if you are “stressed out” because of that pressure, your body will go into alert mode, it can be harmful to your body over time.
Let’s look at hosting a gathering at your house. You have a lot to do to host. If this is something you thrive on and love doing, it’s your thing, then your body will handle the pressures well. If you dread hosting but feel obligated, you will feel the pressure in all aspects of your body, mind, and emotions. How you perceive it can make a big difference on how it affects you.
Your adrenal glands on your kidneys have the main job of handling stress. Along with the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, they trigger the production of hormones such as cortisol, and adrenaline (norepinephrine and epinephrine), and others. When the normally functioning is out of whack your body tries to compensate for it until it can’t and chronic stress-related symptoms occur.
So what are you to do?
First, you eliminate large, unnecessary, negative stressors when possible.
You should re-frame how you view most daily stressors in your life. If you can see the positive, be optimistic, and look at events with anticipation instead of dread, your body has a better chance of handling it well and continue to function properly.
Finally, you should manage your stress when you can with the tips below.
4 Tips When You Can’t Eliminate or Re-frame Stressors in Your Life
Find ways to laugh. Science is showing that laughter has many benefits. One of which is it can“stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.”
Deep breathing activates your body to function properly and in a state of calm. Just look at this quote from Forbes Magazine’s author, David DeSalvo “Controlled breathing may be the most potent tool we have to prevent our brains from keeping us in a state of stress and preventing subsequent damage caused by high-stress levels. The relaxation response is a built-in way to keep stress in check.”
- Calm Your Mind
Prayer and meditation are as old as old civilizations past. Meditation does not have to be a state of clearing your mind, but learning to slow your monkey brain by just 1% can have an effect on your stress levels. Take time to focus, meditate or pray every day. This practice, in particular, shows its benefits after a period of time. Don’t expect miracles after trying prayer or meditation one time. Develop a practice and allow your body to slow and balance on its own.
- Practice Gratitude
The brain is a muscle and therefore, you can train your brain to look at life through a positive lens. As I wrote in Practicing Gratitude, practicing gratitude helps to improve your health by helping you view stress in a more positive manner. The Savvy Gratitude Challenge is a 15 Day Email Challenge to help you develop your gratitude for all in your life. You can purchase it any time of the year.
Stress-related, chronic illness continues to rise in the USA and the world. Do what you can to help your body function properly and not get out whack. Calming your mind and body can go a long way to help.
Comment below with how you de-stress.