STRESS is one of the major negative factors that affects our society today. It affects us and the people around us. It can also be detrimental to our health. As humans we are drawn by a primal force called a FIGHT OR FLIGHT mechanism. This is a response where the body releases adrenaline and norepinephrine when we feel like we are in danger. For ex… You see a snake and you jump or run. This is a good response and is highly necessary. However, when you are in a traffic jam and you get irritable or angry, your body will release the same stress response.
Stress is definitely easy to come by in this day and age. Some people experience this stress response all the time. This is unnecessary and can result in symptoms and poor health and deadly consequences.
COMMON SYMPTOMS OF STRESS
PHYSICAL- Muscular: headaches, grinding teeth, jaw pain, neck/back pain. Nervous: migraines, sensitivity to light/sound, diarrhea, moodiness. Weight gain, weight loss, hair loss
MENTAL- Anxiety, depression, disorganized, crying, forgetfulness, moodiness, irritability
BEHAVIORAL- grooming, appearance, rushing, overreacting, perfectionism, sleep problems, tiredness, alcohol use, spending, gambling.
At a very young age, we are introduced to food as a rewarding and pleasurable "fixer upper." We learn that food that taste good makes us feel good. But, what we don't learn is that this does not truly fix our problem, only causes more. During times of "fight or flight," some of us tend to depend on food, alcohol, drugs, cigarettes or prescription medication to help "fix" us or calm us down. When in hind sight creates consequences (sometimes severe) long term and never truly solves the underlying problem.
It is important to train ourselves to depend on healthy coping mechanisms during hard times. Life is hard, and some times are harder than others. But, as humans we have to learn to cope in healthy behaviors, behaviors that do not cause consequences, only positive results. Here are 30 ways to replace emotions to a healthier state of mind:
Go to the gym.
Prepare healthy and easy grab snacks for when life gets hectic.
Rejuvenate yourself with a 15-30 minute nap.
Plant an herb or vegetable garden.
Get domestic and clean!
Knit, sew, or crochet
Go outside and take a walk or jog.
Read a good book or magazine
Get crafty and take on a new art project or hobby
Play a game outside
Drink a glass of water or make it a little fancy by infusing with fresh fruit, vegetable, or herbs. Have you ever tried cucumber and strawberry infused water? Talk about refreshing!
Be still and create a space to meditate
Journal and reflect on what is currently going on in your life
Look up inspirational passages to keep you motivated and post to your refrigerator or keep in your car.
Re-organize your refrigerator, freezer, closet and pantry.
Make a phone call to a friend or family member.
Can you think of anyone who may need to be cheered up? Write a letter to a friend or family member.
Write down goals for yourself for the upcoming days
Hand wash your car
Drink a cup of herbal tea
Enjoy a relaxing shower or bath
THINGS TO AVOID THAT MAY CAUSE STRESS TO INCREASE:
Negative talk or people
High sugar, high fat foods
Too much commitment
It’s so important to rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit!!!
Yours in health,
Nichole Barras, BS, CLC, CPT