Sunday, July 20, 2014

Published 9:30 AM by StilettoLova with 0 comment

3 Simple Ways to Fight Stress

Have you ever entered a room, with the intent to get something from it, only to forget the reason that you entered the room in the first place? Are you having difficulty remaining focused while performing a task? Do you often find yourself in a "daze", where your mind has trailed off to some blank, yet unexpected place? Have people remarked about how "snappy" or disagreeable you've been lately? Are you having trouble fitting into your favorite pair of jeans?

If you have had at least two or more of these situations occur, you may be STRESSED.

I know... You are "too blessed to be stressed". You have everything under control. You are on top of your game at work. The kids are great. Your family is thriving. Your love relationship is on the right track. You look good for your age (insert applause), exercise regularly, don't smoke or drink, and you are in the best possible physical shape you can be in. You attend worship services weekly, pray often, and have a great personal and familial spiritual foundation.

By all appearances, you have it all together...or maybe not.

Maybe Lady Fate has dealt you a rotten hand. Everywhere you turn, the proverbial fire has to be extinguished. Your supervisor placed you on an improvement document. Your son has been suspended from school for fighting. Your loved one passed away and the family is in great discord over the funeral arrangements. You suspect your spouse is having an affair.

The snack machine at work has become your best friend, and you could certainly stand to lose some weight (Mom: "That dress is riding a bit too high on your backside, dear."). You personally haven't seen the inside of a gym since you graduated high school.

Cortisol may be the reason why your jeans are too tight and you're cranky

Cortisol plays a big part in your body's responses. Cortisol, a stress hormone, actually serves the body well in its intent. It is produced by your adrenal glands and helps to regulate your blood pressure and immune system during a sudden crisis, whether a physical attack (let's say to fend off a robber), or through emotional challenges (a sudden loss of a loved one). Cortisol is designed to help the body tap into energy reserves and increases the ability to fight off infection. Sounds pretty bad ass, right?

Signs of cortisol troubles

However, under lengthy and highly stressful situations, Cortisol doesn't know when to stop producing. High levels of this powerful hormone can cause sleep deprivation, which can lead to irritability. Memory loss, and the inability to focus are also a few of the outwardly obvious signs that you are producing too much Cortisol.

Internally, however, greater evils are at work. A depressed immune system, blood sugar abnormalities, increases in headaches, hair loss, and ......abnormal weight gain, can turn your body into a hot bed for disaster. Seeing your hair abandon you with each comb or brush stroke can be heartwrenching. Watching your "perfect" size 8 turn into a size 16 is already bad enough - having a co-worker or family member comment on it is worse. Both can bring its own psychological headaches.

So, how do we fix it?

There are a variety of ways to regulate the production of Cortisol. The key is to find the right balance. As each individual is unique, so will their prescription be for success. Here are a few ideas to help you get started:

Let's go back to our scenarios. Our subject has it, as we say, "going on". Suffice it to say, there is good stress in that person's life. However, because we know that life happens, it is still important for that person to maintain their health. I mentioned earlier that they are in good shape for their age. Exercise on a regular basis produces healthy endorphines that balance weight and help to regulate one's mood. They HAVE to be sleeping well, as very few people can perform highly complex jobs with very little sleep for long periods of time without eventually breaking down. One can also presume that there is a positive environment in the home. The subject prays and has a Higher Source as counsel for spiritual grounding. One can only assume, that they put in a great deal of time maintaining harmony. The kids are doing well and the love relationship is intact. Neither of these are possible (though there are some rare exceptions) without a peaceful and positive home environment.

In contrast, the least positive scenario needs a lot of time and attention. It is up to that individual to DECIDE which road they are going to take in each individual situation. For example, small steps are needed to fight off stress. Remember, our subject was placed on a written document at work. Should she fuss and cuss? Should she take her battle to HR or should she ask herself if her external stressors (son, death in family, trouble in marriage) have indirectly affected her productivity at work? She did forget an important meeting recently, and has been oversleeping a lot lately. Should she minimize her role in the funeral arrangements concerning her loved one? Should she start packing carrot sticks, peanuts, apples, and healthier options when she feels stressed at work? Should she go on a nice walk on her lunch break to get in some exercise? Should she join church? Concerning her son, is he acting out because of the marital discord? Is family counseling in order? Should she just kick both the son and the husband out and regain her peace? Well, no. That's just a fleeting, raucous thought. However, you get the gist. She will have to decide what prescription works for her to manage what appears to be chronic stress.

Everyone can regulate Cortisol. You can manage your stress by remembering these tidbits:

  1. Move that body vigorously for at least 30 minutes each day for at least 4 to 5 days per week. Exercise such as walking, running, weight lifting, dancing, are all great ways to regulate your stress. 
  2. Turn off your cell phone, Ipad, TV, Mp3, and go to SLEEP! A well rested body performs at peak capacity each day. Though the number of hours of sleep  needed varies by person, the average person needs at least 8-10 hours of solid sleep to recover from day to day stress and be refreshed and perform at its optimum level. 
  3. Words bring life or death. Make sure that your words are often positive. Prayer and meditation are relative forms of stress relief and vary. Join or return to your favorite worship center and surround yourself in all of the things that that place can offer. If you are not a spiritual person, you can still enrich yourself by practicing positive daily affirmations. By merely saying phrases such as, "This will be a great day", or "I will not complain about anything", you will unlock the door to a different outlook and approach to your situation. The brain will respond to what it hears and your body will bear its own positive fruits.

You only have one body, one soul, one mind. You have more control of it than you think.

**Stiletto Lova**

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