What’s worse than stress? Nothing!
Resident Worry Wart. That’s me. I don’t know why, but my hard-wiring is wound a little tight. I have this amazing ability to imagine the worst, stress out to the max, and get worked up over the small stuff. This is not a quality I’m fond of.
Stress kills. And if it doesn’t kill you, it slowly breaks you down. Chipping away at you until you’re so fragile, you could snap at any moment.
Eustress: A type of stress that is fun and exhilarating. It keeps us dynamic. This is experienced when you are about to begin a mountain bike race, when rushing to meet a deadline, or when skiing down the slopes. A little eustress is good. It keeps us excited and happy.
Acute Stress: A short term response to an immediate perceived threat. The threat can be real or imagined; your brain/body doesn’t know the difference. During times of acute stress, the body experiences increased levels of cortisol, adrenalin, and other hormones that increase the heart rate, speed up breathing, and raise blood pressure. Your body is preparing for the fight-or-flight response.
Chronic Stress: This occurs when your body is kept in a constant state of perceived threat. Instead of having time to come down from the fight-or-flight response and activating the relaxation response, our bodies are worn down and we can become ill – mentally, physically, and emotionally. Not good. And the thing is, chronic stress occurs way too frequently this day in age. Extra not good!
When your cortisol levels are high, your body goes into fat storage mode. When your cortisol levels are high for an extended period of time, your metabolism gets out of whack. So not only does stress screw with your health, it also screws with your metabolism. “Nice.”
Stress sucks. Literally. It’s draining. Ask me how far I get with stressing and worrying about everything? Not far at all. Sometimes nowhere. A lot of the time, in the opposite direction…
So what can we do?
Recognize what your stressors are and when you’re in a state of chronic stress. Make it a point to rest and relax. Take time for yourself. Every day when I get home from work, I take about 30 minutes to myself and just unwind.
Get plenty of sleep!
Don’t get caught up in the small stuff, don’t hold on to bad feelings, and don’t put time and energy into things you cannot change.
Remove the negativity from your life. There are things and people in my life that have caused me major stress. I had to get rid of them. It was hard, but worth it. Be a little selfish – it’s okay.
Exercise. Exercise helps to decrease cortisol levels and increase endorphins – hello, “runner’s high!”
Some of the best things you can do for yourself to de-stress are meditate, practice yoga, visualize peace, and invite the calm.
What are your favorite things to do to de-stress? What are ways you’ve removed stress from your life?