Stress equals dis-ease. Would it even be possible to “delete” stress or even reduce it to a reasonable roar?
I have not written in almost a week. I had a great weekend in Harrisburg PA teaching energy healing. It was wonderful. However, this is not the work that is putting bread on my table. Nursing is. That means I worked 10 days in a row. Admittedly, I am rather stressed tonight. What do I do when I am stress… drink coffee and eat. 🙁 Yes I am a work in progress as are you.
My job changed at Christmas time. I went from being a part time “fill-in” nurse to case manager and job sharing. It has been very chaotic at work. My partner and I have not had time to get our act together, if you will. I am not going to go into the details. However, not feeling in control, chaos is a great set up for stress.
What does stress do to the body? Well, under stress the heart rate speeds up, breathing becomes rapid and shallow. In early stress, the mind is sharp to figure out how to navigate through the “dangerous” situation. As stress is prolonged, the mind goes into overwhelm and rational thinking becomes difficult.
Stress chemicals are released in the body. These include epinephrine and nor-epinephrine. This is the “fight or flight” response that was needed by the body in prehistoric times. When you came a crossed a life threatening situation, you would need to “fight” or “flee” in order to survive. To do that, the body made the following changes. The heart beat faster. Muscles became tense (getting ready to fight or flee). The breathing became fast to bring more oxygen to muscles. Digestion stopped. Blood flow was diverted to brain and muscles so that the human could be swift in thinking and fleet of foot.
Today, the body still has that very same reaction, even though the “threat” is too much work and not enough time, rather than facing a tyrannosaurus rex. Most days there is nothing to “fight” and there is no place to “flee”. So the energy from the stress response is stored in the body as anger, rage, fat, fatigue, and dis-ease.
This is not a fun way to live life. So what do you do? Stress is going to be part of life. What can you do to minimize stress and be healthier?
Stress will show itself in your body, emotions, thoughts and behaviors. These are your indicators that you are getting into trouble. Head it off at the pass, so to speak.
Lets looks at body symptoms of stress. How about muscle tension? How is your jaw? Tight? If your jaw is tight, what are you doing to your teeth? Set up for problems with dental health and headaches. If your jaw is clenched, how are your neck and shoulders? Set up for headaches, upper back pain, stomach issues. If you are tense… set up for low back injuries, and falls due to a body that doesn’t move well.
Here are some other somatic (body) symptoms of stress. These include stomach upsets, heart burn, ulcers, and irritable bowel. How about frequent urination, anxiety, breathing problems, and chronic fatigue, arthritis, heart disease, diabetes and more.
How would stress show itself in the emotions? Look for increase in anger, irritability, sadness, worry, hopelessness and despair.
Thinking is affected. The stressed person may exhibit inability to concentrate, have foggy thinking, lack of focus, distractibility, and negative thinking (not being able to be positive).
What are some of the behavior clues that you are under too much stress. All of these symptoms can be either too much or too little: sleep, eating, sex, alcohol or drugs.
A little stress gets you up and going. It is part of the excitement of life, the challenges. Too much and you are in overwhelm.
Look at your behavior, thoughts, emotions and body signs and symptoms that I have already discussed. These are a red flag. These are an invitation to stop what you are doing and take proactive action. Move yourself into “ease”.
Take a breath…. in fact take ten deep breaths. Change your thoughts. Start counting. Sing a song. Read a poet. Keep inspirational prayers, stories or sayings near you for just such an occation. Touch base with a friend. Go for a walk.
Sometimes people use “stress” to drink (coffee, alcohol) because they “deserve it”. Coffee, sugar, alcohol will make “stress” situation worse. You deserve a healthy body/mind. Not a body strung out on caffiene, or sugars.
Eat healthy well balanced meals. Drink a lot of water. Exercise. And get help dealing with the stressfull situation.
Would you like a free report that includes tips for weight loss, some very interesting food facts and more? Click here. It is yours. Here’s to a new healthy you, one healthy choice at a time.
Mary Pat FitzGibbons RN MS