So, you’ve changed your diet and improved your hydration and feel like you’re doing all the things you need to do to be healthy…..
But you’re not feeling 100%, can’t quite reach your health goals and still feel like something isn’t quite right!
This could be the change you need.
Let’s talk stress!
Stress is THE biggest, single most devastating cause of health problems.
There are a number of reasons for this which have been explained in the story below:
IMAGINE you are a caveman out innocently picking berries when suddenly you come nose to nose with a sabre-tooth tiger. While you were simply gathering, the tiger was actually hunting, and the sight of you makes his mouth water.
Luckily for you, millions of years of evolution have endowed you with a set of automatic weapons that take over in the event of an emergency. At the sight of the tiger, your hypothalamus sends a message to your adrenal glands and within seconds, you can run faster, hit harder, see better, hear more acutely, think faster, and jump higher than you could only seconds earlier.
Your heart is pumping at two to three times the normal speed, sending nutrient rich blood to the major muscles in your arms and legs. The tiny blood vessels (called capillaries) under the surface of your skin close down (which consequently sends your blood pressure soaring) so you can sustain a surface wound and not bleed to death. Even your eyes dilate so you can see better.
All functions of your body not needed for the struggle about to commence are shut down. Digestion stops, sexual function stops, even your immune system is temporarily turned off. If necessary, excess waste is eliminated to make you light on your feet.
Your suddenly supercharged body is designed to help level the odds between you and your attacker. Consequently, you narrowly escape death by leaping higher and running faster than you ever could before. With the danger now over, you find a safe place to lie down and rest your exhausted body.
FLASH FORWARD to the present day. Despite the huge amount of technological change in the ensuing 25,000 years, you are walking around with essentially the same set of internal body parts as that of the caveman. At this very moment you’re in hallway, attempting to get your child to put on their shoes and coat so you can leave the house for an appointment that you are now already running late for. Then just as you are actually getting somewhere with the coat and shoes the baby decides to do a poo, an explosive one that means an entire change of clothing.
As you deal with the baby, your toddler decides that you’ve taken so long he may as well take off his shoes and throw them across the room. At the sight of the tiger, err, uh…your toddler and said shoes…your hypothalamus sends a message to your adrenal glands and within seconds your body summons all the same powers that your stone-age ancestor needed to fight a sabre tooth tiger.
You can almost feel your blood pressure soar as you go pick up the shoes and attempt to put them back on your child, the rigid one who won’t help one bit with pushing their feet in to the incredibly tiny space! You recall all the times this has happened recently, and you are quite literally being pushed over the edge. Now your mind is racing, your heart is pumping, your blood pressure is soaring, your mouth tightens, and your voice goes up a few octaves, your hands feel shaky, your forehead is perspiring, and you may even feel a sudden urge to go (to take a breath, have a cry or even use the loo) – GREAT timing!
As you imagine being late (again) for this appointment, the caveman inside of you wants to come out. Maybe you’d like to run and hide or maybe you’d like scream or even punch something, but you can’t do either. Welcome to the modern era.
As you look at your child, you’re experiencing a full-blown episode of the fight or flight response. But since you can’t fight, and you can’t flee, all that energy is pent-up inside of you with no place to go. You feel like you’re going to explode. Your child then speaks. “Here it comes,” you think to yourself. But you’re so shocked by what you hear you can’t believe you heard it right. “What did you say?” you ask your child. “sorry Mummy,” he repeats.
Every time your body triggers the fight or flight response, for situations that are not truly life-threatening, you are experiencing, in effect, a false alarm. Too many false alarms can lead to stress-related disorders like:
• heart disease
• high blood pressure
• immune system disorders
• migraine headaches
• weight gain
• sexual dysfunction
Being in fight or flight is extremely draining on the body. It depletes your nutrients and leaves you feeling exhausted. It also messes with your hormones which have a DIRECT effect on the quality of your sleep. It makes you crave sugar and will store fat around your middle. And shuts down your digestive function!
So, we need to do something to make sure you have your stress levels under control.
There is a huge lesson here.
Stress is YOUR direct reaction to a given situation! The situation or person is not causing you stress, it’s your reaction to it that determines your emotion!
You are in control of your thoughts and feelings therefore you have the power to change the outcome.
Someone told me this years ago and it was such a lightbulb moment for me.
When we are scared, anxious, stressed, worried etc our breathing changes. We hold our breathe or breathe fast and shallow. By addressing the breath, you can also change the emotion tied to the situation.
By focusing more on the good in your life also has the ability to give you a brighter outlook.
Here some simple things you can do
• Every morning and every evening say to yourself (or even better write it down in a journal), I am grateful for……..(this could be as simple as my bed so I can sleep, the sunshine, the food on my table, my children’s laughter etc).
• Take a breath, whenever you feel your stress levels raising – STOP and take a couple of deep breathes. In through your nose and out through your mouth. This tells you body there is in fact no tiger in the room. Laughing does the same!
In today’s fast paced world, we have to find ways to switch off our fight and flight response when it’s not needed. If we don’t, we get stuck in the stress mode and as you’ve seen above this impacts so many processes in your body!
Long term chronic stress is incredibly debilitating.