I want to talk to you about STRESS.
We’re heading into a busy time of year with new schedules, etc. and I know a lot of you are feeling some pressure …
… and I also know a lot of you think you should just toughen up and “push through it”.
Spoiler alert: You can’t do it.
That’s because stress isn’t all “in your mind.” It’s also in your body.
Your stress response system is a primal reaction…in other words it’s hardwired into your system to keep you safe and alive.
In this post I am going to outline some important things you need to know about stress and how it affects you – info that also will help you:
Stress can actually be a GOOD thing.
When your ancestors were under threat, whether it was fighting off a predator or dealing with everyday problems like feeding a growing family, their bodies responded with energy to keep them out of harm’s way.
Our culture has changed a lot since then, but our body’s wiring hasn’t. We react to stress the same way, except our stressors don’t require us to outrun a bear or worry about where our next meal is coming from.
And that can have a major impact on your health!
I want to walk you through what happens to your body during a typical stressful situation.
Hang in there with me, because it’s pretty eye-opening.
Let’s pretend you have an interview for a potentially life-changing job at 8 a.m. next Tuesday.
You really want this job, so you spend a lot of time researching and preparing.
But then Tuesday morning you wake up and look at your clock, and your eyes see that it’s 7:15 a.m. Your alarm didn’t go off!
Here’s a quick outline of what happens in your body.
1. Your eyes send that information to your brain’s amygdala, which helps you interpret what you see and hear and then,
2. Your amygdala basically says, “What the #@*&!!!!?”
3. It sends a distress call to your brain’s command center, your hypothalamus, which talks to the rest of your body through your autonomic nervous system.
Important background info: This system handles all of your involuntary functions, like the beating of your heart, your breathing, and your blood pressure.
It works in two parts. – the “sympathetic,” which is like a gas pedal, flooding your body with fuel to outpace danger. -“parasympathetic,” which is like a brake, calming things down after danger passes.
4. As soon as your hypothalamus hears the distress call, it flips on the sympathetic nervous system. This then tells your adrenal glands to release epinephrine (aka adrenaline) into your bloodstream.
This is basically your body’s “GO!” juice.
5. Your heart beats faster, sending blood to your muscles and other organs. Your airways open wide as your breathing speeds up, allowing more oxygen into your system. Some of that extra oxygen goes to your brain, which will sharpen your senses and makes you more alert.
6. To power all that action, the epinephrine also prompts your body to release fuel, in the form of extra blood sugar and stored fat.
7. All of that happens lightning-fast, before you even have a chance to fully register that your alarm didn’t go off!
Your body does this to either give you the fuel you need to run away fast … or go to battle.
8. Which is exactly what you do, by jumping out of bed and springing to action. You have a LOT to do in a short period of time, and so much is riding on this interview!
9. Your body kicks on its second stress-response layer. This is your HPA axis, which consists of your hypothalamus, your pituitary gland, and your adrenal glands.
10. Your adrenal glands dump Cortisol (and more fuel) into your system, to keep your accelerator on until the stress passes.
11. When you finally hop into your car, you relax a little, which triggers your parasympathetic system. This puts the brakes on your stress response so you can start to relax.
Are You Staying Relaxed?
12. At the interview (which somehow, miraculously, you arrive at on-time!), your sympathetic response kicks back on. This will keep you sharp so you can nail the interview.
13. On the drive back home, your Cortisol levels dip back down, once again triggering your parasympathetic “recovery” system.
Have You Ever Been Hangry?
14. After all of that, your blood sugar levels will start to dip, because your body releases insulin to gobble it up from your system, you feel yourself becoming hungry and tired. You might even become “hangry until you can get something to eat.
15. If this is an isolated issue, you’ll go on your way, having a normal day.
16. But if this is just the latest thing to happen in a series of stressful events – or if you never learned stress-management techniques – your body might not know how to put on your anti-stress brake.
Over time, this constant revving of your sympathetic nervous system can lead to health problems that can cause damage.
Such as damage to your blood vessels, which in turn can cause high blood pressure and increase your risk of stroke or heart attack!
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be sharing actionable tips, techniques, and strategies to help you combat your everyday stress.
I am working on a brand new ebook, that outlines 22 tips and techniques – including powerful breathing exercises – to help your body learn how to shed stress and find calm.
It should be ready to go next week!
In next weeks post, I will be sharing how you can grab your copy.
This week I’ve been Really Busy over in my facebook group, “Holistic Solutions for Emotional Exhaustion”
The response has already been amazing!
This FREE challenge is designed to demonstrate 7 SIMPLE HABITS that will transform your body and help you establish the balanced, healthy lifestyle you desire.
I know change isn’t easy…I totally get it. That’s why I’m breaking things down step-by-step, over 7 days to make this actionable but not overwhelming.
Even if you missed the sign up deadline, there is still time to catch the nightly live stream classes.
Even if you miss one, you can catch the replay.
Come on over and join in the fun!
>> CLICK HERE << to join us!
In the meantime, one of the most important things you can do to help de-stress is to take short “breathing breaks” during the course of the day where you sit quietly and focus on your breathing. Calming your breathing calms your body!
Taking a few stress breaks during the course of the day isn’t “weak.
” It’s actually STRONG, because it helps you take back control.
That’s why I created a face book group to support women just like you.
I want you to know that you are not alone. You have choices and options that can help you overcome Emotional Exhaustion.
The information in this article is provided for educational, inspirational and self-empowerment purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any illness and is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice. It is the personal opinion and experience of the writer. Please see your medical professional for specific advice and medical needs.