How to deal with stressApr 27, 2020
What is stress? And, how to deal with stress.
Stress is the body's reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. The body reacts to these changes with physical, mental, and emotional responses.
Everyone has experienced stress in their life at some point. Stress can be brought on by even favourable circumstances such as buying a house, getting married, being promoted or having a baby.
Stress itself is not the problem; it's how we respond to stress and keep it under control, so it doesn't take control of us.
Stress has many benefits. In the early years of human evolution, it was our stress response that kept us alive. We would encounter life or death danger and experience a release of adrenaline that would cause the flight or fight response in our bodies.
Nowadays, the stress we experience is often due to a negative thought, usually the worst-case scenario or reflecting back on a past event that caused us pain.
The right amount of stress can keep us focused on a goal and to help us meet a deadline.
But when can stress turn into a problem?
When we are under constant stress, our body is in a heightened state which puts a strain on our nervous system, which fires up the adrenals and the release of cortisol.
If we stay in this state for long periods, we can open ourselves up to problems such as;
- Depression or anxiety.
- Anger, irritability, or restlessness.
- Feeling overwhelmed, unmotivated, or unfocused.
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much.
- Racing thoughts or constant worry.
- Problems with your memory or concentration
If the stress stays with us for months, then more severe health problems can arise.
So you may be sat there now thinking well I am stressed and I am feeling all of these things mentioned, which can lead to more stress!!!
I know this because I have been here many times before.
I became anxious about being anxious and got myself caught up in a spiral of worry, anxiety and panic attacks.
I am here to share with you my personal strategies for how I manage stress and what healthy practises I now have in place DAILY to ensure my health stays optimal even during times of pressure, fear and uncertainty.
It took me a long time to understand why I would get myself so worked up and overwhelmed. Now that I know myself at a deeper level, I can calm my mind before I get into the panic loop that was once a constant in my life.
Below are my five strategies that I have used for the last five years to help me manage stress.
I am proud to say I have not had a panic attack in over five years and can deal with stress in a more proactive way that enables me to live a much calmer and peaceful life.
I believe the best way to overcome something is first to accept it. The moment I stopped fighting and resisting what was happening to me was the moment I regained control of my life.
For years I had felt the tightness in my chest, followed by the racing heart, sweaty palms, and before I knew it, I was experiencing a panic attack.
It was when I acknowledged how I felt that I was able to slow my mind, take some deeper breaths and centre myself.
Just slowing down and not allowing myself to not get overwhelmed by the feeling stopped the panic attack in its track.
I would put one hand on my heart and one hand on my stomach and just say "breath, you're ok."
Just repeating these words to myself and focusing on my breath made a huge difference, and I quickly found myself slowing down my racing mind and taking in some deeper breaths.
I believe the biggest cause of stress is resistance. I now say to myself "If I can't change it, then there is no point worrying about it."
I breathe and focus on what I can be grateful for, and that quickly helps bring me back into the present.
I remember the first time I went to mediate! WOW, what a crazy experience.
Like most, I would say to myself "I don't have time to meditate" or "my mind is too busy."
ALL THE MORE REASON TO MEDITATE!
I started with just 5 minutes in the morning with a quick affirmation meditation. I really enjoyed it, so I quickly upped it to 10 minutes.
I repeated this new routine daily for a month and began to see a difference in my mood, focus and a more profound sense of calm.
I then began to meditate for 15 minutes, and then I would often meditate in the evening to unwind from the day.
Over time I started to dedicate 30 minutes daily to my meditation practice. To say it changed my life would be an understatement.
I would recommend just starting with 5- 10minutes in the morning before you get out of bed. I suggest a guided mediation to get you started.
If you want a happy and healthy life, I highly encourage you to start a mediation practise as soon as possible.
I used to wake up check the news, check my emails and then jump on social.
Who has done or does this?
I honestly believe this is the quickest way to spike your cortisol and stress response.
How we set ourselves up for the day impacts the rest of the day, which is why it is crucial to start the day with some positivity.
There are a few ways I like to mind feed.
These three things I now do daily to feed my find with goodness. We feed our bodies (hopefully with whole foods) so why would we not feed our minds?
We are being fed constant negativity and fear all day, which is why we need to continually be filling it with good knowledge that will inspire us and enable our growth.
Be aware of what you watch, read and listen to. It stays with you and can impact your mental well-being.
Walking, yoga, running, weight training, swimming surfing, bike ride, tennis it doesn't matter how you exercise just MOVE YOUR BODY EVERY DAY!
Here are just some of the benefits of exercise:
- The most prominent benefit of exercising is that it helps with weight management. ...
- Improves Bone and muscle health.
- Relief from physical pains.
- Protection against health conditions
- Younger, healthier skin
- Boosts mental health.
- Energy level boost.
- Improvements in your mood.
Every time I exercise, I feel amazing after. It is a habit that once you adopt, you will soon feel and see the benefits. Once you experience how good it feels to move daily, you won't want to stop.
If you are new to exercise, start by just walking 4x a week for 20-30 minutes and build up from there.
The main point here is; just begin!
Finally, show yourself some kindness.
We can be so hard on ourselves and continuously be speaking negatively about our bodies, circumstances, jobs, family, health etc.
When we continually do this over long periods, our subconscious mind begins to believe what we are saying, and it quickly becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Choose your words carefully as this will then carry through to our thoughts and our behaviours.
Start looking in the mirror every day and saying "I am enough."
Focus on what you are grateful for each day, instead of what you lack. This, alone will make you feel happier and more content.
When I started speaking to myself more positively and had an attitude of gratitude, I began to honour myself and became far more patient with myself and trusted the flow of life.
If you are feeling stress right now, know that you are not alone. Everyone is going through something.
One of the most empowering realisations I ever had was this.
"If it's out of my hands, then it deserves freedom from my mind too."
I hope this article helps. If you enjoyed it, please share and tag people who would benefit from readings this.