Is Stress Making You Sick? 6 Tips to change how you respond to stress.
Stress can cause many different reactions in the human body. Most commonly it can bring on a frequent colds, indigestion, cause aches and pains in the body, and leave you feeling tired (sometimes even depressed).
Stress occurs when we perceive a situation connected to us to be worthy of anxiety. Getting stuck in traffic when your running late is a great example of this. When a stressful situation occurs our body instinctively kicks into “fight or flight” mode, which is a hard-wired reaction to threats on our survival.
This natural response triggers the release of hormones that ensure we can face whatever is causing us anxiety. The problem is that sometimes we are in a constant state of stress which results in the depletion of these hormones and eventually leaves us in a weakened, vulnerable state. Common diagnosis that result are Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), auto-immune conditions and digestive complaints such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and bloat.
Stress happens. Its how we handle it that makes all the difference.
Here are some quick tips to managing stress in your daily life:
Create a sacred morning routine for yourself.
Very few people have a morning routine that supports the start of a healthy, happy day. Start by taking 3 deep breaths upon waking. Take the time to honor yourself and how you feel. We often wake up and immediately check our emails, Facebook feed and voicemails. Simply setting your alarm 15 minutes earlier to do a short yoga/stretch routine before getting ready, or sitting with a proper breakfast creates the foundation for a much more relaxed and enjoyable day.
Write It Down. Let the ‘morning pages’ do the work.
Commonly referred to as the “Morning Pages”, it can be very helpful to take a few minutes in the morning to write down any thoughts that may be hindering your mind. Are you concerned about a presentation? Do you have too many errands to fit into the day? Are you feeling more tired than usual? Whatever it is that is causing heaviness on you mind write it down. The act of transferring these ideas onto paper releases them so you can move forward and tackle any situation with more ease, as well as allow yourself to make room for other thoughts or events that occur during the day.
How do you keep your body feeling alive and healthy? Try taking at least 20 minutes per day to do something active. It could be as simple as walking to and from work, or taking a lunch break to walk around your city. You may find it helpful to do 5 minutes of light stretching for every hour you spend at your desk. Release your muscles and stay in touch with your body. If you can make the time, a morning work-out routine of 30 – 40 minutes of cardio supports heart health, muscular strength and helps you deal with stress that may occur throughout the day.
Meditation & Breathing Exercises.
Taking the time to incorporate intentional breathing and/or a mediation routine can be extremely challenging for many people. We spend so much time in a busy mental and physical state that stopping to be completely still and quiet seems unnatural. We often will have WAY too many thoughts flowing through our mind to be calm. The first step to finding the state of relaxation is to breath. Find the time throughout your day to close your eyes and take 3 deep intentional breaths. Feel your body relax into the exhale. Start there and then slowly increase the number of breaths daily.
Personal Productivity. Focus on what you’re good at.
What skills do you have to help you manage stress? When you have a problem to deal with how can you best utilize this skill set? Instead of focusing on the aspects of a problem that you have no control over, start with what you are good at. Are you a very organized person? If so, maybe creating a list of pros/cons or an action step list will help you to figure out how to start with tackling the tasks of the day. If you are not organized, but are great with people maybe you could make phone calls to other individuals or businesses that have experienced similar concerns or tasks. We all possess problem-solving skills. Find the area where you shine and go at it.
Realistically we cannot do everything all at once. The important thing is to find balance in life while still being productive. Determine what is most important to you and find the balance needed to stay happy and healthy while working towards your goals. Defining your priorities helps create this balance. Pulling an all-nighter, or missing important family events for work may advance your career, but it is matching your priorities? Keep in touch with yourself and allow for the restructuring of things so you have more time in life to enjoy the things that make you happy.
Krystal Vrba is a Whole-Food Nutrition Coach co-founder of Refresh Natural Health. She is the creator of the 3-Day Glowing Skin Diet and the 14-Day Liver Reset Program. After spending years battling her own health challenges, including multiple autoimmune diseases and chronic fatigue, Krystal works with clients and develops programs to make healthy living easy and fun. Please visit www.liverreset.com for more information on Krystal and her healing journey.
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