Monday, June 22, 2009

Stress and ways to handle it


© Chessie Roberts 2009 all right reserved. Used on blogsopt,chessiesEOS by permission

Do you have concerns about things such as; the economy, budget cuts, your life in general, cash flow, higher demands on your time and resources, that next load of laundry, anything at all? Well a yes answer to any of those puts you in the “you have stress” category. Not to worry, help is on the way.

Some warning signs of becoming overwhelmed by stress (not to scare you but to inform you) can also be explained by other, possible medical situations so, before we go any further, if you feel that you are experiencing any of these symptoms or warning signs, PLEASE see your doctor or health care provider for an exam to be sure where your personal ‘stuff’ is coming from.

Nervous habits either starting or coming back
Pulling away, isolating yourself
Eating (too much or not enough)
Use of nicotine, alcohol or any drug (prescription or recreational)
Neglecting your responsibilities
Sleeping (too much or not enough)

Difficulty or an inability to concentrate
Focusing only on negative aspects of your life
Problems with memory
Constant worrying
Difficulty or an inability to focus for any length of time
Displaying poor judgment
Overly anxious
Racing thoughts

Loss of sex drive
More frequent occurrence in respiratory problems, such as;
Colds, sinus infections, bronchitis etc
Frequent gastro/intestinal problems, such as;
Diarrhea, gas, constipation, cramps, nausea etc.
Pain in chest and/or upper arm
Heart rate becomes rapid
General, undefined aches and pains

Feeling overwhelmed
Moodiness; irritable, agitated, can’t relax, can’t get going, short tempered
Depressed, don’t care
Feeling alone or isolated (even around others)
Generally unhappy with everything/one

You need to remember that your emotions and actions are contagious to both yourself and to others. If you are able to control you in a balanced manner that too will spread to those around you and you are ahead of the game. Because once you are in a downward spiral, it will build.

How does this occur you may ask? It happens because thoughts are fluctuations of energy that are carried by chemicals called neuropeptides. Your body is a shameless eavesdropper and will instantly react to your thoughts even before you are aware of them. Have you ever been startled by what you thought was a spider or a snake only to discover that you were mistaken? Well there you have a perfect example of the phenomenon.

This also occurs when you speak of something you ‘feel’. I learned my lesson the hard way. I was at my chiropractors one day because of terrible lower back spasms. While on the table the Dr. and I were conversing about my day and I answered one of his questions with a cleaver quote from a movie that I was currently using for laughs, “That makes my butt twitch.” I know, I know, not very ladylike but the Dr noticed that as I spoke the quote, I had another spasm! He said, “I think I found your problem.” And he was correct. I stopped saying that particular phrase and my spasms dropped off dramatically.

Lesson here is when you pay attention to your ‘self’ on a conscious level, you become better in tune with you so you know sooner when you are reaching your limit. So what can you do to help yourself? First, breathe. As you breathe, you exchange the atoms of your body. As you replace the tired ones with fresh ones, you feel better. Regular breathing will exchange about 98% of your body’s atoms per year, deep conscious breathing raises that rate. I’m talking about the deep in through the nose, blow it out through the mouth, empty your lungs kind of breathing. (Careful and don’t hyperventilate) you should not have to do this more that 3-4 times to feel the effects.
Here are some other ways to control or reduce stress;

PHYSICAL BODY/LIFESTYLE CHANGES; (start with small steps)
Move; walk, drink water not soda make better food choices
Cut way down on nicotine and alcohol
Get into a regular sleep schedule
Balance you work, family, rest, play time
Don’t over or under commit (you will learn where your limits are)
Leave some wiggle room in your schedule, leave earlier to account for traffic etc
Take breaks and leave your desk, room or building
Prioritize tasks, delegate when you can and to the least pleasant first or when you are at
Your strongest time of day
Hydrate yourself

Learn and practice meditation (pray to ask, meditate to listen for answers)
Learn and practice correct self talk to create better communication with yourself and
Consequently, others.
Make time to read positive, up lifting things that are not business related
Find/make a calm, quiet place (it really is ok to have one)
Learn to truly like your ‘self’ with no judgments or criticism

Have/attend regular religious/spiritual rituals to reconnect with the Greater Power
Pray to ask
Meditate to listen/help
Help someone in true need
Laugh with genuine humor
Learn with gratitude, love and joy

“Remember the definition of relaxing is not lying on the couch, sleeping or being lazy; it is a mentally active practice that leaves the body relaxed and refreshed. It is best done in an awake state. It is a trainable exercise that gets better with practice.” University of Michigan Health Center

Bright Blessings, Chessie

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