Theres no doubt about it. We are living in a fast paced world in which stress levels are generally high. Our brains are wired to deal with this by releasing stress hormones (cortisol ->then adrenalin). Chronic stress, causes cortisol levels to soar and this is not without consequence.
Rising cortisol levels leads to weight gain, depressed immunity, elevated blood pressure, fertility issues, increased appetite, sodium and water retention – to name but a few effects.
So what can you do about it?
First define your stress.
Stress is generally a sense of not being in control of the present situation. What are your stress triggers? What is the thought that is associated with these triggers?What physically happens to you when you feel stressed? Your body? Your chest? Your breath? Your muscles?
Create an awareness to your triggers.
Once you have awareness, you can RESPOND rather than REACT. This also creates a sense of personal control over your situation. If your normal reaction to sitting in the traffic is stress. Notice this. The next time, choose your response rather than to just react (and not just because this is always how you’ve done it!) How can you CONSCIOUSLY CHOOSE to react. Some reactions may merely be a case of “this is how I’ve always reacted to this” What are the options that you have to choose from? Being stressed in traffic is one. Listening to an audiobook, to music? The traffic is a simplification of stress I know, however the principles remain the same!
Our bodies are about balance. The adrenalin based system (also called the sympathetic nervous system) is balanced by the parasympathetic nervous system which can be activated by deep conscious breathing. (This is part of the reason that meditation has such a calming effect). Now, I am certainly not asking you to meditate in traffic! Just breath in deeply, hold for 2seconds and breathe out fully. This will start to balance out some of the “stress hormones”, one small step at a time. Try it. What do you have to lose?
Lets talk, if you would like to know more..