“I’m just a bit stressed at the moment” is such a common statement now days, that it seems almost good to be stressed – like your part of the cool crowd if you’re stressed.
Stress in itself isn’t a bad thing, we are designed to deal with stress, and its often quite useful! That adrenaline rush to get a task finished quickly, that extra boost of energy or strength at the end of a race.. How often have you said “I work better under pressure”? The problem lies when our bodies can’t, or don’t fall back out of the stressful state into the relax state.
This is called the fight or flight response, and it has been a great love of mine for a long time. Seeing the various ways in which it affects our lives is both amazing and annoying. Annoying because why should we have to deal with all these other issues on top of the stressful situation!
Cortisol is the hormone released when we are stressed, it triggers the body to send its available energy to the muscles, brain, lungs and other vital areas to enable us to get away from that Tiger that is chasing us. At that moment in time, you don’t need your digestive system, your immune system or your reproductive system, so they shut down. Then, when your out of danger, your body returns the energy to all part of the body, and your able to eat that delicious meal, keep illness at bay, and make some babies.
When we are constantly stressed, we constantly have a high dose of cortisol, we stay in the stressed state, and end up with problems. Here are 10 ways your body is telling you’re your stressed:
- You store fat in your belly. For what ever reason, excess cortisol loves being stored as belly fat around your organs. So, if you have a propensity to store fat there, and don’t want to end up with one of the many problems, its time to reduce stress.
- As mentioned above, it suppresses the immune system, by interfering with T-cell production, making you more susceptible to all the bugs going around. Have you ever wondered why you get sick right after a big event?
- It also inhibits insulin production, which raises glucose, and can therefore lead to insulin resistance issues or diabetes.
- It increases blood pressure. This is part of the “get me away from the Tiger” response.
- High cortisol increases your receptivity to pain – so being stressed walking into the dentist, getting a tattoo, or going into labour is a sure fire way to make sure it hurts more than it would if you were relaxed
- It suppresses our digestive system – could you imagine asking the Tiger to stop attacking so you can finish digesting dinner? You would become dinner.
- It suppresses the reproductive system – again, imagine asking the Tiger to stop attacking so you can make a baby.. Or so you can give birth? Tiger doesn’t care about your babies, so your body stops these processes so you can save yourself.
- It suppresses many good hormones like Serotonin. This is one of the happy hormones, and a lack of this can lead to feelings of sadness, lack of interest and depression.
- Another hormone it suppresses is Oxytocin. This has a HUGE impact on women in labour, as its one of the main hormones needed for a successful birth. It is also our love hormone, so lack of Oxytocin can lead to feelings of disconnect from our loved ones, and lack of love.
- Finally, it stops us from sleeping properly. Again, this comes back to the Tiger. The tiger doesn’t care if your tired, if it wants to attack you have to be awake to save yourself. It’s only when you’re out of danger can you properly rest and sleep. So the recurring thoughts, reliving stressful events, and rehearsing for future stressful events are all just modern day versions of the attacking Tiger.
So, it turns out you’re stressed, what now?
Do the things your love – doesn’t matter what it is, find something that you love doing, and do it for at least 30mins a day. Watching a show on tv, cooking a fantastic dinner, reading a book, meditating, journaling, exercise – ANYTHING that you love doing. It’s important that you love it, because otherwise you just won’t do it, or it will create more stress for you.
I’m sure you’ve seen the rise of the self care movement, asking us to take more care of ourselves in what ever way works for us. This also includes setting good boundaries with those that drain our energy. It’s no wonder really, the more we try and work and hustle and meet the needs of others, the more stressed we become! Self care is not an indulgence, its a necessity!
Kinesiology, massage therapy and energy healing are also fantastic ways to clear stress. Yes of course I’m biased in this opinion, but there’s good reason:
Kinesiology – its designed to cut the connection between the stressful event, and the reaction, so next time you are in the stressful situation, you don’t react the same way as before. It is also one of the best tools to release past trauma, and to release energy and stress that isn’t helping you anymore.
Massage – there are many techniques which are designed to relax the nervous system, therefore pulling you out of the fight or flight state. Its no wonder many people feel so sleepy after a massage!
Energy/sound healing – The energy clears the chakras, meridians and other areas where we hold stress, and then filling them back up with positive energy so the negative cant stick around. Sound healing works so well (on its own and with kinesiology) because the first thing our nervous system picks up on is vibration (sound) so its basically resetting the nervous system, and stimulating healing form the deepest part of us. It also works on our energy centres, and via the water that we hold in our body.
There you have it. Whether its physical stress, or emotional stress, there are ways to detect it, and to combat it, and help you get back to feeling how you want to feel!
I would love to hear if any of the above ways is ringing true for you!