Getting sick more often than usual?
Gaining weight yet eating less?
If you answered “Yes” to any of those questions, chances are that you might be experiencing some degree of stress in your life. Other clues you may be stressed include: headaches, back pain, tension, jaw clenching, frustration, forgetfulness, heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, feeling overwhelmed/anxious/nervous, sweaty palms and mood swings. And there’s so much more!
For one person, stress could result from losing a loved one and for another it could be having a tough time at work. Or it could just result from us trying to joggle all of life’s ups and downs. Whether or not stress is physical, mental or emotional, our bodies produce adrenaline and cortisol which prepare our bodies to fight or flee. This response helps us produce enough glucose for energy, keep our brains alert and mobilizes fats and prepares them to be broken down for additional energy. Historically, stresses included being chased by a wild animal. In today’s world, our stressors are often more subtle, but our bodies still respond in the same way.
In the short term, stress can motivate us to finish that pressing assignment that’s due or to get our 50- item to-do lists done! It focuses us and helps us to be efficient and effective. However, when stress becomes chronic, our health can become affected and we tend to be less able to cope with our stressors. This is when we begin seeing declines in our health and don’t feel like ourselves.
Taking time to tame stress starts with acknowledging that you are stressed in the first place. So next time you feel overwhelmed, try some of these tips.
This is just a snapshot of tips you can practice. Stress has many components and affects us in multiple ways. Stress can motivate us but can also affect our mental, emotional and physical health in the long run. Moderation, therefore, is definitely key.