Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!

4 Things That Help Stress (& 5 That Make It Worse)


Someone once told me that you get stressed not from  what you’re doing, but  from what you don’t get done. I’m not going to  tell you to just relax and take  time off, because you probably won’t do  that. I will, however, help you  understand why it’s important for you to  potentially make some changes that can  help you learn to deal with and  prevent stress.

For starters, being busy and being stressed are  not the same thing. Stress  is one of the greatest triggers of disease  and imbalanced living in our time  today. It’s something you have to face  and deal with, or it will deal with you.  The best solution is to learn  how to implement daily stress prevention and  nourishing self-care  habits.

The Stress Factor

Stress may start in your head, but your body will show you the signs  of  living with chronic stress. Do you ignore your body when it’s crying  out for  attention, downtime, and care?

There are different levels of stress and often,  we don’t recognize the first  signs of it. Our bodies are designed to  withstand it; it’s one of our most  refined survival tools. The problem  is, we were only designed to be stressed  for short periods of time, not  the way we live today, where stress has become  our lifestyle.

When the body goes into stress mode, our entire  nervous system is affected,  which includes our hormones. This means  when your body experiences stress, it  will stop doing what it normally  does to keep a smooth machine (you) running.  Instead it will put your  system on standby and focus on dealing with the  danger. That means your  adrenals, cortisol, and other hormones start racing.  These all affect  your heart, circulation, metabolism, lungs, and immune system.  Blood  sugar rises to increase fuel for energy and your blood’s clotting   ability increases to be ready for the potential danger of injury. Your  blood  pressure rises to push more blood to your muscles so you can run  faster, and to  the brain so you can think faster (which doesn’t  necessarily mean better).

In the 1930s, a researcher outlined the GAS effect (General Adaption  Syndrome), which is related to stress:

Stage 1: Adrenal Stress This is where you start feeling  the energy slumps, irritability, or  feeling wired. You may also experience  trouble sleeping and have some  digestive discomfort.

Stage 2: Adaption When you learn to adapt, your symptoms  actually lessen. It’s another survival tool.

Stage 3: Adrenal Exhaustion Most people first realize  they are suffering from stress at this  point. Your body no longer has the juice  to keep going, so there’s no  more fuel from which to take. You’re constantly  tired and get colds and  other viruses continuously.

Stage 4: Physical Burnout In this phase, your immune  system breaks down and you start  suffering from chronic conditions, such as  sudden onset of allergies,  depression, hypoglycemia, acid reflux, colitis,  chronic fatigue,  autoimmune diseases and severe disorders such as metabolic  syndrome,  diabetes, MS, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis. Even cancer is   connected to stress and severe emotional trauma, the greatest stressor  of them  all.

Common Signs of Stress:

  • You can’t sleep
  • You have digestive problems, stomach aches, excessive acid, and reflux
  • You have constant headaches and migraines
  • You have tightness or pain in your lower back
  • You have heart palpitations and high blood pressure
  • You get sick all the time, including colds or the flu
  • You have increased abdominal fat you cannot get rid of
  • You feel anxious all the time even when you have down time
  • You’re exhausted and fatigued
  • You cannot relax without feeling guilty

What Adds to Your  Stress?

Lack of Sleep Your body will see lack of sleep as  potential danger lurking. And being tired makes it harder to cope with  problems.

Caffeine It might make you feel on top  of the world after a cup or two, or  what gets you going in the morning but it’s  also what triggers your  stress hormone to rise and what makes you more  exhausted as the day goes  by. It drains your adrenals even faster than stress  alone would.

Dehydration We are mostly water. When  you’re dehydrated, your body will perceive  it as danger that you’re not getting  your first and most basic need  met.

Not Having Food at Regular Meal Times This is another  very basic need for our bodies, but unfortunately,  also the first thing we omit  when we don’t have time. Lack of food is  very much a red flag for your stress  hormones. In body and hormonal  language, no food is potential death.

Stimulating Foods That afternoon cookie or candy bar may  seem to be the only thing  that will get you through the rest of the day. But it  actually triggers  your blood sugar to spike too fast with the added anxiety and  then fall  down, which will cause you to drag your feet and feel fuzzy.

The Stress  Busters

Apart from healing your relationships, getting rid of your nasty  boss who  does not appreciate your efforts, speaking your truth, doing  one thing at a  time, and realizing that you can indeed only be in one  place at a time, there  are many things you can do to reduce stress in  your daily life.

Eat a Balanced Diet You need all the nutritional support  you can get from whole foods,  which means consuming foods that are vegetable  rich, contain good  essential fatty acids, have lean proteins, and also contain  wholegrain, a  good source of glucose for energy. Don’t skip meals, especially   breakfast, and don’t overeat.

Remember that food becomes your blood and your  blood feeds your entire cell  and hormonal system, your brain, your  muscles, and your organs.

Supplement Yourself Though I’m not proposing to stimulate  yourself with supplements,  during a stressful time these can help. Adaptogens  are herbs that  support you in coping and recovering from stress. You still have  to do  what’s required to manage your stressors, though. They are not miracle   cures. The best known adaptogens are Siberian Ginseng and vitamin C.  Other  adaptogens are Rhodiola, Ashwagandha, and Shizandra, which you can  combine or  take separately. For emotional exhaustion. Olive from Bach  Flower Essences is a  good supplement. If you feel really anxious, some  Rescue Remedy can help  too.

Supplements based on the adaptogen mushrooms  are helpful too, and boost the  immune system. Examples of this are  reishi, maitake, and cordyceps.

Have Some Fun Moving and having fun is the next thing you  can do to reduce stress.  Get out in nature, exercise, or do yoga. Also spend  some time being  creative—listen to music and sing along, journal to cope with  your  feelings, and in general do more things that give you some pleasure.

Take good care of your body. Try some lovely  baths, massages, and other  touch therapies. We offer quite a few at the  Path for Life Center.

Learn How to Be This is also called “get out of your  head,” and is better known as  meditation. It can be very difficult to sit still when  you’re stressed,  but the good news is that you don’t have to. Meditation can be  applied  in many ways.

Exercise and movement, stretching and  breathing—there are many ways to get  your body out of the grip of  stress. When your brain can finally learn to let  be, your body can  unravel too.

Remember this when life seems to take  over: actions may be positive or  negative according to the intention  that underlies them, just as a crystal  reflects the colors of its  surroundings. Stress is what you make of it.  It does start in your head.

By Jeanette Bronee, Path for Life via DivineCaroline

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Comments on: "4 Things That Help Stress (& 5 That Make It Worse)" (1)

  1. I agree about caffeine; anything the contains a decent, or heavy amount of it, always disrupts my sleep, and bothers my skin!

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