Did you know that stress is not something that happens to us? The mind cannot actually contain or hold onto stress, crazy huh!!
Not all pressure is bad and a little bit of pressure can actually lead to increased productivity and performance. Anyone left that 5,000 word assignment until the last minute?? However, excessive pressure lead to stress.
When we are stressed, or experience stress there are changes in the brain and in the whole body. We experience the ‘stress response’ or ‘fight-flight’ response. When we danger or a threat our body gets ready and geared up to face up to it in the best possible way to survive. Our heart rate increases, muscles become tense, stress hormones are released and flood into the nervous system, fats and sugars release to create instant energy, the digestive system shuts down to save energy and the area of the brain which is used for clear decision making shuts down. These are all incredibly useful responses, however it is not something we should be experience on a daily basis. With the increase in challenges, and daily stress, it is sending the body out of homeostatic balance far more often than it should. All this is happening while at the same time we are getting far less rest than ever.
Rest is so important in order to regain it’s equilibrium. When we rest, we enter the parasympathetic nervous state and it is here that our body restores and rebalances. Without rest, the body accumulates fatigue, stress and begins to manifest illness, whether that be mental or physical.
Here are our tips on how you can help manage your stress:
Recognise what is causing your stress and take action. We are creature of habit, and will continue in a cycle just because it is what we know. Unless you take a close look at what is going on around you, you may not actually notice that it’s something only small that needs to change. Make a diary for a week and note down the times, the people, the situations that you are in when you feel stressed. You may notice a pattern and soon you will be able to make a plan on how to address it.
Positivity is key! Write down all the negative thoughts that come into your head throughout the day. Once you have them, rewrite them into positive thoughts and repeat them to yourself throughout the day. Eventually you will have retrained yourself into thinking positively.
Perspective. Talk to friends or colleagues to get a new perspective on a situation. The way you look at things can really have a huge effect on your stress levels. Things might not be quite as bad as you thought.
Stay active. Be healthy Move your body with regular exercise to release endorphins (the feel good hormones). Have you ever felt bad after exercising?? By eating a health diet, reducing alcohol, and regular exercise we are giving the mind and body the support it needs to cope with pressures.
Relax, slow down, unwind. We really need the body to enter that ‘rest and digest’ stage more often than when we go to sleep. Introduce slower paced activities into your lifestyle. That could be yoga, meditation, gong baths, holistic therapies, taking a bath, walks, reading a book or just doing some deep breathing exercises.
Speak up. You are not alone !! Speak to a friend, a loved one, or maybe you want to speak to a complete stranger such as a life coach (Pandora Paloma is a registered life coach at The Refinery). Connecting with others has a real positive effect and helps us to see situations in a new light and approach it with a different manner.
Manage your time. Many of us worry that we don’t have enough time to get things done, but what we actually end up doing is spending more time worrying about time, then using time – make sense?? Make a diary of how your time is split between work, home and pleasure. Highlight the times or places that you waste time and think what you could do differently to manage that time, using it more wisely, making life less stressful and having more time to do the things you want to do.
Do more for you. You are number 1 and if you don’t take care of yourself first, you cannot be there to support others. Make sure that you take time out to do the things you love. Book in a monthly treat for yourself, where you do something that you want to do. That could be a yoga workshop, taking yourself to the cinema, a road trip, whatever it is .. make sure you are giving yourself love!!