Stress……some of us deal with it better than others, some have more stress than the rest of us, and some have stress thrust upon them! Stress can show up in many different ways; upset stomach, tension headache, acid reflux, neck pain, eye strain, panic attacks, feeling frazzled, high blood pressure, forgetfulness, sadness, anger, overeating, undereating, increased smoking or drinking, worry, depression, skin disorders, sleep problems and ultimately heart disease and autoimmune disorders.
“Stress is a normal physical response to events that make you feel threatened or upset your balance in some way. When you sense danger – whether it’s real or imagined – the body’s defenses kick into high gear in a rapid, automatic process known as the “fight-or-flight” reaction, or the stress response”, says healthguide.org. We all have some version of stress. Some is ok, stress can help you in times of emergency or when life requires you to be on your toes. Chronic stress and emotional stress are the triggers for health problems. The body doesn’t know the difference between physical and psychological stress, so it will react the same way to everyday stress as it would to a life or death situation.
How do you react to everyday stress? Do you hold it in, you know, way down in your stomach, do you react or do you respond to the situation? There is a difference between reacting and responding. Reaction is just the way it sounds….you react. That could be with anger, frustration, yelling, blame, or any of the symptoms listed above. A response is a conscious solution to the problem. When something frustrating happens, taking a deep breath, looking at the problem and thinking…”OK, this just happened. What am I going to do now”?
But it doesn’t always work that way, does it? The body responds to stress quickly. Negative thoughts creap in, the tension starts. So how about some alternatives for the moments when the answer isn’t there right away? Here are some things that I always work for me for those “life’s uncertain” moments.
Change your mind: Change your mind, change your life. Positive thinking can go a long way. Fake it till you make it. Change the negative thoughts in your head to positive ones. Yes, you can!
Laughter: Watch a classic comedy movie. Laughter can stimulate your organs, soothe tension and stomachaches and activate and relieve your stress response.
Have a good social support: Friends and family who are there to give you a sense of belonging, self worth and your friends can be there to alert you to potential stress situations. Be grateful to your friends and family for “being there” for you.
Relaxation techniques: Yoga, meditation, and tai chi can slow your heart rate, lower blood pressure, increase blood flow, improve concentration and reduce anger and frustration. If you can’t make the time for a class, just sitting still and closing your eyes and counting will help. That old saying, “count to ten” when you are ready to explode, is a great way to go.
Exercise: A simple 20 minute walk can go a long way to relieve stress and its effects. I just got back from my walk and my mind is fresh for writing.
Understanding your sources of stress can lead you to the solution. Will the above work for you or do you need something more? Seek help from a physician or therapist when it seems life’s ups and downs are just too much for you to handle alone.
Here are some natural alternatives to take for stress relief:
Nux Vomica: can help with irritability, sleeplessness and headaches.
Bach’s Rescue Remedy: Natural stress relief. I always have this on hand.
Find out what works for you. Daily stress can be reduced in intensity. Listening to a stress reducing cd in your car on the way to and from work can help to alleviate the stressors of the day. When you arrive home, changing out of your work clothes and just spending 5 minutes or more sitting and breathing.
Relax, breathe….I wish you peace