Stress is a state of bodily or mental tension resulting from a stimulus (stressor) that tends to alter your existent equilibrium. As humans we’ve been exposed to stressors since the beginning of time but you can choose how to respond.
The automatic response called the “Fight-Flight” is part of your inherited human survival kit. In more primitive times, this response to various stressors allowed your ancestors to survive extinction by allowing a complex physiological reaction to marshal inner resources to mobilize body and brain.
The problem is nowadays you inadvertently activate this fight-flight response in every-day experiences that do not require it in order to survive.
One of the baseline beliefs we support at Essential Wellness is that stress is the underlying factor for most illness and disease experienced in both the physical body and the mental-emotional body of every human.
How do you know if you are stressed? Signs and symptoms of stress include:
- physical tiredness or exhaustion
- emotional turmoil, worry, anxiety, depression, and/or exhaustion
- poor self-esteem or self-image
- inability to concentrate or retrieve information, brain fog
- high blood pressure and other signs of heart disease
- pain, swelling, inflammation of any kind
- accumulating excess weight around your belly or inability to lose weight
- increased levels of stress hormones and/or hormonal imbalances of any kind (adrenal fatigue, thyroid imbalances, pituitary damage, fertility issues, insulin resistance, etc.)
- digestive discomfort of any kind (gas/bloating, acid reflux, cravings, etc.)
- lowered immune system function (autoimmune issues, allergies, infections, etc.)
What causes it:
Plain and simple, for the most part you cause your stress. Your thoughts activate your feelings and inspire you to act accordingly. Each experience you have creates more thought and feelings, which ultimately cause you to give meaning to that experience and any future experiences that are similar; again, causing you to take specific action. We store all of this as memory and it is accessed automatically when future similar experiences present.
In doing research for this article, I came across health psychologist Kelly McGonigal’s TED Talk presentation on “How to make stress your friend” and it gave me new insight on stress. Her TED presentation raised the idea that stress might not be the enemy we think it is. She cited scientific studies and papers supporting these ideas:
- the harmful effects of stress on health are not inevitable
- how you think and act can transform your experience of stress
- when you choose to view your stress as helpful, you create the biology that supports cooperation and wellness
- when you choose to connect with others under stress, you can create resilience
Needless to say, this information is pure genius because your experience always comes back to your own expectations and perceptions. I am now looking at stress in a new, positive light! You can too!
What can I do about it:
The future of your health is always determined by your mind-body connection. – Michele Anderson
The harmful effects of stress on your health do not have to be inevitable. If you are experiencing symptoms of stress on a regular basis, you do have the ability to CHOOSE your response and it doesn’t have to kick you into fight-flight resistance. Here are some tips that can help you disengage your stress response.
Steps to immediate relief are:
(1) Make stress your ally by taking a few moments to view Kelly McGonigal’s TED Talk: http://www.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend.html and welcome how it transforms your concept of stress.
(2) Stay connected and receive future articles about stress reduction and other health and wellness topics. Join Our List for Rewards on the right side of this page.
(3) Incorporate some quieting-of-mind practices such as yoga, meditation, visualization, prayer, etc., to help you strengthen your connection to your inner wisdom and strength.
(4) Be gentle with yourself by choosing to be okay with where you are right now in this moment, knowing that it is exactly where you need to be. Beating yourself up isn’t going to give you the motivation to make changes.
(5) Keep your eye (and your thoughts) on the end target. This one is a biggy! Are you stuck in thinking about what you don’t want or are you stepping into the possibilities you have before you? What you focus on always expands. Keep redirecting your focus on where you want to go.
(6) Be present. This means don’t get caught up in living in the past or in the future. Your point of choice is only present in the now.
(7) Take inspired action. We encourage you to do your own research but don’t get so caught up in learning that you never step into action. You can always course correct as you learn from your experiences.
Steps to long-term relief are:
(8) Work with a coach to discover your own solution and personalized plan of action. At Essential Wellness, we find that many clients generally know what they need to do but they struggle with creating a structured plan to work consistently that will lead them to their desired experience. This alone can create a lot of self-induced stress.
We have tips and processes that you can implement in any area of your life you want to improve. They will help you get clear about your goals, become a vibrational match to your desired experience, inspire you to step into action that will speed up the process of achieving your goal(s).
For a limited time (Jan/Feb 2014) we are offering a package of FREE coaching sessions to those that meet specific qualifications. To apply, leave us a message on our Contact Us page.
How can Essential Wellness help:
Although we cannot diagnose, prescribe, treat or claim to cure any medical condition you may have, our focus is on helping you reduce the many levels of stress that are playing into your current health experience.
At Essential Wellness we believe that your current experience always begins with the thoughts you think.
Please contact us for a FREE 30-minute private conversation to determine how Essential Wellness can partner with you in shifting your mindset to success in achieving your wellness goals.