Stress is a big word in today's culture, yet many of us don't fully understand how it works, when it helps and when it hinders. So, read on to find out more and learn some helpful stress relieving tips too!
So, what is stress? In negative terms, it is the body's response to perceived threat. But stress can also be helpful in motivating us to get things done. It is less about the level of stress, than our relationship to stress that determines whether it is a positive motivator or a negative inhibitor. Too much stress can lead to burn out and can be damaging both physically and mentally.
Our bodies are designed to cope with short bursts of stress that peaks and then subsides quickly. The problem is, that in today's world we are often in a state of prolonged low level stress and this can be harmful. When we experience stress our body releases adrenaline and cortisol - this response is designed to prepare us to deal with danger and is an essential survival mechanism. However, when we are in this state over time, it can have devastating consequences. Research shows that prolonged stress can actually shrink the area of the brain responsible for higher reasoning and decision-making and trapping us in a state of fight or flight.
Chronic stress (prolonged low level stress) also suppresses our immune system, leaving us more likely to catch bugs and can also result in back pain, neck pain and headache as a result of stored tension.
So how can reduce or manage stress? Since we can't avoid life completely, it is important to learn techniques to help us reduce and manage stress when it does present itself. The most simple to way to do this is through breathing. By slowing our breathing we engage our parasympathetic nervous system - the system that brings us back into physiological balance. I like box breathing best because it is super simple - just breathe in through your nose for the count of four, hold for four, breathe out through your mouth for the count of four, hold for four and repeat as many times as you need. There are loads of other breathing techniques and guided breathing on apps and available through a quick internet search - find what works for you.
If you are finding that stress is becoming disruptive to your life, sleep and mood, it is also worth exploring the root causes of the stress and work on resolving those with a qualified professional. If you'd like to find out how I can help you with this, get in touch to arrange your free, no commitment consultation here: https://www.origami-life.com/contact