Life got you stressed out? Tell me how you’re REALLY doing. The automatic response I hear most is “I’m fine!” but in reality, you’re not.
Modern life tends to push all of us to our very limits. We’re bombarded non-stop with noise pollution, smart phones, social media, television (that NEVER stops), unhealthy food, schedules that would drive a saint to drink and on and on and on…
More than a few people in my life – friends, family and clients – talk about the stress in their lives. Y’all know I’m a trained aromatherapist and holistic life coach, so I’m always asking questions of anyone who wants “something for stress”.
I can’t tell you how many caregivers, medical professionals and teachers tell me that they’re on the verge of burnout because they’re constantly on the go and under stress.
What is Stress?
Stress is a physical response to change. That’s as simple as I can make it. It’s your body reacting to circumstances and events whether that’s momentary or continuous. Your stress response is based on your perception of what’s happening at any given moment.
When you feel “stress”, your nervous system goes into high gear involuntarily. Your body perceives stress from good experiences (weddings, awards, etc.) in the same manner as bad experiences (illness, work etc.). It makes no difference to your adrenal system – you’re still stressed!
How many times have you watched an action film or scary movie and your heart beats faster? How did you feel standing at your wedding in front of a room full of people? What about that near miss you had on the way to work? And the first time you gave a presentation to a potential client? That first moment of falling in love? Yep, your adrenal system kicked in without missing a beat.
Stress can be a good thing. You have a sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system controls the body’s responses to a perceived threat and is responsible for the fight-or-flight reaction. Your adrenaline pumps through your system, your heart rate increases, your breathing is shallow and all of your bodily functions are on high alert. When a perceived threat happens occasionally, your body calms down after a few hours and your parasympathetic nervous system takes over again.
Adrenal fatigue and burnout are rampant in our society – all due to stress!
Sympathetic Nervous System Response
When you perceive everything in your life to be stressful, your sympathetic nervous system is in a constant state of high alert – and I’m here to tell you from experience – that’s when the long-term damage begins.
I’m currently reading a book called Deadly Emotions by Don Colbert, M.D. and it is EYE-OPENING. In the chapter about turning off your stress hormones, he writes:
“Psychiatric diseases that have been linked to long-term stress include generalized anxiety disorder, panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, as well as other more rare psychiatric diseases.
The manifestation of long-term stress may also be in the form of physical diseases or ailments. Playing games with chronic stress places nearly every organ system of the body at grave risk.”
Your stress symptoms can cause everything from headaches and migraines, stomach and digestive problems, heart palpitations, chronic pain, lung and breathing problems, eczema and psoriasis – need I go on to convince you what chronic stress is doing to you? It’s killing you!
The Mind Body Connection
One of the questions I ask of clients who have eczema or psoriasis is this: what do you need to cry about? You think I’m nuts, don’t you? There’s a ton of research in the medical field that shows stress is a major trigger of eczema and psoriasis. Those folks are the ones I ask about their anger, sorrow and stress level. With eczema and psoriasis, your skin is openly weeping because you can’t – or won’t. Your skin – or your headaches or chronic pain – is telling you that you just can’t take anymore of these stress-producing emotions.
Dr. Colbert goes on to say:
“While stress may not be a known cause of some diseases, studies have shown it to dramatically increase the pain or suffering associated with autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis and Graves’ disease.”
Are you paying attention yet?
Did you know that arthritis is all about being angry and feeling helpless to do anything about it? Got digestive issues? What’s going on in your life that you’re you struggling to “digest”? Get the connection?
Sadly, many allopathic physicians don’t have time to talk about – or don’t really understand – the mind/body connection. They weren’t necessarily taught about this connection because medical schools aren’t teaching it. It’s much easier to prescribe a pill to dull your symptoms than it is to get to the root.
And the root is stress.
There are simple and effective ways to reduce your chronic stress level. But YOU have to want to help yourself. I don’t know how else to say that except for bluntly.
- Move your body. You don’t want to hear that and you have a thousand excuses why you can’t stretch or walk or – that dirty word – exercise. If all you do is stretch for 5 minutes first thing in the morning, then you’re reducing the effects of stress. Set your alarm clock for 6:10 instead of 6:15 and simply stretch. Yoga is perfect for this. If all you have time for is 3 or 4 poses, then go for it!
- Stop using any form of caffeine after 4 PM. All of you coffee drinkers who brag about drinking a cup of coffee and then go to bed are making a bad situation worse. You think you’re sleeping just fine, but your body is still processing that caffeine and you’re not getting the recuperative rest that you really need.
- Unplug ONE HOUR before you go to bed. I don’t want to hear any excuses. (No, you do NOT have to fall asleep with the TV on. That’s simply a bad habit you started and don’t want to stop.) The blue light from your television, computer, tablet and phone disrupts the release of melatonin which is a hormone related to nighttime. Unplugging allows your body and mind to relax.
- Get more Vitamin C. Eat an orange every single day or red and green peppers, kiwifruit, baked potatoes, tomatoes, and broccoli.
- Stop eating junk food. They’re full of chemicals, sugar and empty calories and you’re simply stressing your system even more.
- Take a few minutes every single day to practice deep breathing. Those long deep breaths will do more to calm you than anything and fills your body full of fresh oxygen.
I fully realize you have a packed schedule, aging parents, kids with soccer practice, a heavy work schedule – I get this. But tell me something. What good are you to anyone if you’re flat on your back? Eventually, your body will rebel and you’ll get sick. You just haven’t made the connection yet.
Your body is talking to you – listen!
How Does Aromatherapy Help?
HELLO PEOPLE, I’M A CERTIFIED AROMATHERAPIST! I HAVE STUFF TO HELP YOU! Okay, I’ll quit yelling now. Seriously, here’s some products I created just for stress and anxiety and how they can help you:
- The Anxiety Ease Aromatherapy Roller Ball helps calm you without getting drowsy. Roll it on your heart and inner wrists any time you feel stressed out.
- Peaceful Ease Aromatherapy Roller Ball works with stress and mild depression. Depression is a symptom of stress. Roll it on your heart, under your nose and on the back of your neck as often as needed.
- Stress Support Aromatherapy Roller Ball. This acts as a tonic for your body to support your adrenal system – you know the fight-or-flight culprit. Apply this one to your adrenal glands (they sit on top of your kidneys) 4 times a day – but NOT after 4 pm.
Really – that’s just the short list – there’s all sorts of products in my line up that can help you with a myriad of concerns. BUT – and it’s a big BUT – I can’t heal, fix or cure you. YOU have to do that and it all begins with managing your stress.
Listen, I wrote this post as much for me as for you. I’ve been in your shoes and had to learn some hard lessons and new ways of coping. Dig deep and see how your perception of a particular situation is causing the stress. I know you care, I know you’re frustrated, I know you’re tired.
Let me help. Fill out this short contact form and let’s talk. Today.
P.S. You probably know 10 different people who are stressed to the max. How about sharing this post with them, okay?
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Consult your physician before beginning any exercise program.