Your body is always giving you signals and messages. Particularly about stress.
The physical symptoms of stress are warning signs. These signs start out quietly and we don’t really sense them. Then, they get louder and we take a pain reliever or have a glass of wine “to wind down”. And we’re still not connecting the dots.
Until the warning signs get so obvious that we can’t ignore them.
The Physical Symptoms of Stress
Ya know, America is stressed out. Wound tight as a drum.
I get it. We’re living through a once-in-a-lifetime adventure and it’s not over. We’re tired and strung out.
All that stress adds up over time and we don’t feel as good as we used to but we’re not sure why.
- Your sleep isn’t as restful as it used to be.
- You’ve noticed a dull headache more than usual.
- Maybe you’re grinding your teeth. (If you think you are, you definitely are.)
- You’re diving into that bag of chips (or bottle of wine) more than you used to.
- You feel tension in your shoulder muscles – this is a big one.
- Feeling a tiny bit nauseous lately?
All of these are symptoms of stress.
When you experience an increased level of stress, your body releases a bunch of hormones, mainly cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones prepare your body for fight or flight, which is our evolutionary response to a threat.
This is a good thing because it sharpens your reflexes and puts you on edge so you pay attention to your surroundings.
The problem is when stress becomes chronic. Prolonged release of stress hormones increases the overall level of inflammation in the body and can lead to long term health effects.
Chronic stress can weaken our immune system – I don’t think that’s a good thing right about now! Yeesh!
When you’re always on the edge and hyper-aware, you’re flooding your body with cortisol which leads to adrenal fatigue and even worse: adrenal burnout.
I lived on coffee, cigarettes and potato chips for a very long time. Add to that owning a small struggling business and going through menopause and you have chronic stress and the beginnings of runaway inflammation. Not a healthy lifestyle.
All that stress causes inflammation. And chronic inflammation can lead to heart disease, diabetes and to atrophy of the brain mass and decrease its weight. AACK!! (1)
How To Decrease Stress
I’m no pro when it comes to decreasing stress, but I do practice stress management every single day.
The best thing I’ve learned to do is set my intention for the day before I get out of bed. I cannot jump out of bed and be chirpy – ain’t happenin’! So I lay there for just a moment and take 5 deep belly breaths and choose how I want to feel that day. Do I want to feel joyful? Do I want to feel peaceful? Do I want to feel happy?
Whether or not it works out that way isn’t always the point. By intentionally deciding how I want to feel, I’ve taken some of the power out of stress. A big THANK YOU to my friend Melody Morris for teaching me that trick!
While I struggle with meditation, it does help you to focus on what’s going on in the moment. Even if you can only meditate (or pray) for 30 seconds or less, you can control your breathing – again taking deep breaths helps you manage stress.
I know some of you have a ridiculously stressful occupation and you “don’t have time for all this nonsense.” You have to use the bathroom a few times a day, don’t you? If that’s the only place where you can take a few deep breaths, by all means, use the time to your advantage!!
Aromatherapy – you knew I’d get there eventually, didn’t you? One of the first blends I learned to make in aromatherapy school was for stress and adrenal health (they go hand in hand).
At first, this blend was tougher to explain than I thought! People just didn’t understand about the adrenal system and chronic stress and how it affected your everyday life. A whole lot of folks blew me off and didn’t believe the effects of stress on their body, mind and spirit.
Each oil in the Stress Support Synergy Blend Rollerball is a tonic for your adrenal system to help you address the constant strain and tension (and inflammation).
I still use this blend every single day.
Yes, we have to live with stress but no, we don’t have to let it eat us alive.
Want help managing your stress? Reach out with this short contact form and let’s talk today!
Thank you for stopping by!
(1) The Impact of Stress On Body Function: A Review – EXCLI J. 2017; 16: 1057–1072. Published online 2017 Jul 21. doi: 10.17179/excli2017-480 PMCID: PMC5579396 PMID: 28900385