Tips for Stress Management
The S word,
Means different things to different people…
- Battling peak hour traffic daily
- Concern about the bills
- Job stability lower than its been in a long time.
- Watching a loved one grapple with their health
Chronic stress can have a huge impact on your quality of life.
Thankfully stress is no longer a taboo topic, and we are having a much better dialogue about its impact on everyone’s lives.
We thought it would be a good time to explore how stress works, its effects on your body, as well as some tips and a reading list to help expand your perspective.
How stress works
In his book “why zebras don’t get ulcers” Robert M. Sapolsky describes how our stress response is a complex balancing act of our autonomic nervous systems – our fight or flight response. It is a system that evolved over a millenia which has helped us survive as a species.
A stress response triggers a surge of different hormones that divert blood flow, as well as messages that impede “non essential” bodily functions like digestion and healing (more about this later) priming us for fight or flight.
This response is perfectly normal if you are trying to outrun a sabre tooth lion, but not necessary when we are driving home in peak hour and someone cuts us off, or we think about the outstanding bills.
When and how its a problem
Today we are bombarded with chronic, recurrent stressors that result in a sustained stress response. Remember I mentioned the diversion of blood flow, and down regulation of non-essential functions. You see, digesting lunch is not an essential function, when your life is at risk. Just like your bodies immune response, essential for the long term, though sustained periods of stress can effect your ability to manage and fight off viruses and other disease.
With our homeostatic mechanisms compromised, there may be a decline in health. This then hampers our capacity to manage all that life throws at us, therefore compounding the effect of stress. So the moral of the story is it would be wise to get on top of your stress, and your well-being. This is where we can start with some simple strategies that can have a big impact.
Tips for Stress Management
Here are some simple strategies that you can start with:
- Keep a gratitude Journal – identify the little things that you are grateful for every day. This will enable you to focus on the good things that you have in your life which can really lift your perspective.
- Get active – There are numerous research papers that demonstrate the benefits of endorphins and the positive impact on stress management.
- Lean on those close to you – Decompress, get your worries off your chest. A positive support network will unburden your shoulders from carrying the stress alone.
- Eat Healthy – Having the appropriate nutrition helps you body operate at its best. Omega and magnesium supplementation are known to aid stress management
- Commit to self development and learn how your mind can manage stress better – the following 3 books are a great place to start
- Why zebras dont get ulcers – Robert Sapolsky
- Rewire your brain – John B Arden
- The power of now – Eckart Tolle
Let me know how you go with those books. I have read each of them and they have been pivotal in how I manage the stressors of juggling work, family and life in general.
Feel free to reach out to me via email: email@example.com if you would like some direction on which book to start with. I always love a good chat.