Believe it or not: Some stress is good! This is our body’s way of responding to any kind of urgency or threat. Our body will automatically release stress hormones; adrenaline and cortisol. This will allow for necessary physical changes that will increase your strength and stamina, speed your reaction time, and enhance your focus. This “fight or flight” stress response is your body’s way of protecting you. Stress can also help you rise to meet challenges.
Along with good…comes the bad stress. This is an over abundant amount of unnecessary Internal or External stress.
External Stress; major life changes, financial problems, leading an extremely busy life, work or school deadlines, relationship difficulties, children or family members.
Internal stress; perfectionism, pessimism or negative affirmations, lack of flexibility, worry, guilt, unrealistic expectations brought on by anxiety, all-or-nothing attitude.
Bad stess can cause the following symptoms:
Cognitive; worrying, anxiety, poor judgment, inability to concentrate, memory loss
Emotional; unhappiness, loneliness/isolation, agitation, short temper, moodiness, feeling overwhelmed, depression
Physical; frequent colds, aches and pains, rapid heartbeat, nausea/dizziness, loss of sex drive, diarrhea or constipation
Behavioral; nervous habits such as biting nails or pacing, procrastination, isolation, over/under sleeping, over/under eating, using relaxing tools such as alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs
Here comes the good news! You can beat BAD stress and here’s how:
Social engagement is the most promising because it takes you away from isolation and offers a network of support to assist you with stressors. Nowadays with social networking even though we are still being social, our engaging interactively with others suffers. This is why stress levels have risen. We need to engage with close friends or family the old-fashioned way too! One hour per day engaging with another being that is close to you will help you feel better. Engage socially and get moving!
Exercising 30 minutes per day can lift your mood. It serves as a distraction from negative stressful or anxious thoughts. It gets oxygen pumping in your bloodstream better which allows you think and focus better too.
Eating better by increasing foods rich in enzymes such as; fresh fruit and vegetables, high-quality protein, and omega 3, can improve your insulin levels and help you achieve the most out of your body’s energy and mental capacity. Greens can cure an abundance of ailments.
Positive Outlook is the MOST important key to proper attitude. Your brain gets messages from brain cells within your body released as chemicals. Serotonin alters your mood, sexual drive, appetite, sleep, memory, learning, body temperature regulator, social behavior. Dopamine regulates movement and emotional response. It enables us to see our rewards and strive to obtain them. It also steers us from addiction. Melatonin controls your sleep and wake cycles. It is important to get lots of sleep to help you function and think rationally. All these 3 chemical neurotransmitters depend on you positive way of thinking helps send positive messages and feedbacks to your brain to give you the opportunity to embrace challenges, give you a strong sense of humor, accept change as a part of life, gives you a sense of control, and gives you the ability to bounce back from adversity.
Next time you’re feeling anxious or stressed, these strategies will help you cope:
· Take a time-out. Practice yoga, listen to music, meditate, get a massage, or learn relaxation techniques. Stepping back from the problem helps clear your head.
· Eat well-balanced meals. Do not skip any meals. Do keep healthful, energy-boosting snacks on hand.
· Limit alcohol and caffeine, which can aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks.
· Get enough sleep. When stressed, your body needs additional sleep and rest.
· Exercise daily to help you feel good and maintain your health. Check out the fitness tips below.
· Take deep breaths. Inhale and exhale slowly.
· Count to 10 slowly. Repeat, and count to 20 if necessary.
· Do your best. Instead of aiming for perfection, which isn’t possible, be proud of however close you get.
· Accept that you cannot control everything. Put your stress in perspective: Is it really as bad as you think?
· Welcome humor. A good laugh goes a long way.
· Maintain a positive attitude. Make an effort to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
· Get involved. Volunteer or find another way to be active in your community, which creates a support network and gives you a break from everyday stress..
· Learn what triggers your anxiety. Is it work, family, school, or something else you can identify? Write in a journal when you’re feeling stressed or anxious, and look for a pattern.
· Talk to someone. Tell friends and family you’re feeling overwhelmed, and let them know how they can help you. Talk to a physician or therapist for professional help.
~ Christine Iliadis