Let’s face it, life is becoming increasingly busy with work, family, social media, and things that go beep all around us. All this stimulation sets off our internal alarm buttons, and gives our physical bodies unnecessary alerts. The messages we receive tell us that it’s hard to stay afloat of all the events and time commitments around us. It can make you feel like you are drowning in paper work, or going under with financial burdens. Many feel overwhelmed with commitments or unfinished projects.
STRESS! Stress! Stress!
It’s a killer. It’s the NUMBER ONE cause of all illnesses! I must admit that I didn’t believe it until I felt the effects. Its A sneaky– under the radar– black cloud that just niggles at your adrenal glands until you have nothing more to put out, and find yourself struggling to get out of bed in the morning, or tossing and turning unable to fall asleep at night —without popping a pill. Curiously most of us just don’t recognise that we have this monkey on our back, until we actually do fall apart with some physical signs, such as autoimmune diseases, diabetes, hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, allergic skin disorders, back aches, disc diseases, Digestive problems, Cancer (through lowering your immune vigilance) heart palpitations and fibrillation or Thyroid conditions.
Image by Gdudycha : The effects of stress on the body.
Stress from too much emotional, physical, or mental stimulation needs to be calmed. Stress causes your adrenals to push out the hormones of adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol. This can lead to inflammation and wear and tear on your body, it also pushes up your blood sugar and insulin levels, leading to that middle belly fat store and liver diseases.
Some stress is ok, but when we continually burn our adrenals and force them to pump out stress hormones, our bodies go to ground. PTSD or post traumatic stress disorder is a longer term effect.
Nurture and nourish your body and soul. You are here for the long haul, not just for a couple of exams or a University course, a stressful job, parenting a child with autism, or a difficult marriage, or a speeding ticket. There options and ways to handle your stress levels, even if you cannot completely control your environment/relationship/job.
Here are top 7 stress busters:
- Organize- Clutter control is the key to staying organized. Keep a wastebasket close by and throw away things that you no longer need. Dedicate at least 15 minutes of your time to organizing your study area so you do not have to waste time sorting through rubbles of books and papers when looking for something. Remove and give away excess clothing, pottery, kitchen ware, magazines, newspapers.
- Learn how to say “No”- Don’t get over-involved. You don’t have to join every activity, every club, and every community project. You do not have to accept all invitations to socialize with friends. Evaluate your schedule and check your to-do list to see what tasks are important and accomplish them first.
- Exercise- Regular exercise releases muscle tension and will rev up your energy. Join a yoga class, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, Swim, go for a walk with a friend, or get up and dance in your living room. You don’t need fancy exercise machines to get regular exercise. Any type of exercise is good for your body and mind. Take a break daily to smell the grass, roses and exercise at the same time.
- Eat nutritiously- Students, nurses, doctors and busy housewives, executives and police officers are notorious for not eating right. A healthy diet can enhance your body and mental functions. A poor diet can zap you of brainpower. So grab a fruit, a veggie plate, or nutrition bar when you are hungry or have no time to prepare a healthy meal.
- Get enough sleep- Students, shift workers, and Medical professionals are among the most sleep-deprived group of people due to over-commitment. Getting enough sleep will rebuild your energy and will make you feel better.
- Herbal Helpers- The gardening principle comes into play when nourishing your body- to last a lifetime, you will need to spend a lifetime looking after your adrenals, “weed out” the stress by removing yourself from stressful situations, and feed them well replenish them with some of the following herbs at periods of stress with these adaptogens: Withania somnifera= Ashwaganda, Rehmannia glutinosa, Rhodiola, American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), Astragalus membranaceus, Bacopa monnieri, Eleutherococcus senticosus (Siberian Ginseng). See a Naturopath for a consultation to tweak your own personal herbal formula.
- Essential oils- Good quality oils and aromatherapy massages can help your brain and adrenals recover. The oils must be of a therapeutic non contaminated blend and individualised for the person’s requirements, preferably by seeing a qualified aromatherapist. Some useful blends might include some of the following: Bergamot, Patchouli, Blood Orange, Ylang Ylang, Chamomile, Jasmine, Lavender, Rose, Sandlewood, and Grapefruit essential oils.
And lastly, remember to SMILE! Life is a present. Open yourself to receiving JOY.
Hug your dog, neighbour’s dog, friends dog…..or get a nice well behaved and friendly dog- they make you smile!