Can stress be helpful?
There are times when a little bit is a good thing.
When you are under pressure for a job interview or giving an important presentation or performance, the extra adrenaline and blood sugar provides you with the stamina and focus to take on the added pressure and challenge.
However, over time, stress can take its toll.
What happens when you are under stress?
Do you notice your heart is racing when you are stressed out?
It’s because your heart takes things literally. When you are under deadline, your heart responds as if you are in physical danger. It increases blood supply to your muscles so that you can get ready to run toward safety.
You might assume that repeated stress on your body would build resiliency, but unfortunately your heart is unable to build up stamina to endure everyday frustrations. There is no endurance muscle associated with the heart.
Daily stressful outbursts, regular road rage, or similar experiences are taking a toll on your heart and increasing your risk of heart disease; such as high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
What happens when you experience long-term stress?
Long-term stress causes a weakened immune system making you more susceptible to illness. When you are under stress your liver makes more blood sugar to give you energy for the fight or flight response. If you don’t use that sugar, your body reabsorbs it which could lead to diabetes.
Here are some ways to manage your daily frustrations and reduce your stress:
1. Ask yourself:
- Is there any danger in this situation?
- Do I need to be ready to fight or flee?
- What assumptions am I making?
- How can I respond differently?
- Can I dial down my response with some deep slow breathing techniques?
- How important is this really?
2. Get active.
Daily exercise is proven to melt away to toxicity associated with stress in our lives while boosting your mood and providing more energy.
3. Pet a dog or cat.
4. Practice Mindfulness, daily meditation, or slow breathing exercises.
Lots of research supports a daily practice of mindfulness, meditation or slow breathing exercises to help with stress, anxiety or depression. Free mindfulness meditations: http://www.mindfulness-solution.com/DownloadMeditations.html
How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie
Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabit Zinn
Mind Your Body: 4 Weeks to a Leaner, Healthier Life by Joel Harper
Relaxation Revolution: The Science and Genetics of Mind Body Healing by Herbert Benson and William Proctor