How does chronic stress show itself? We see it in the form of digestive problems, irritability, insomnia, unstable mood, skin disorders, aging, weight gain, fatigue, poor wound healing, muscle tension and strain, back and neck pain, upper respiratory infections, a suppressed immune system, a range of diseases and more. The list is endless.
Many of us combat the symptoms of stress by using self medicating behaviors such as overeating, binge eating behavior, emotional eating, mindless eating, overspending, drinking, smoking and other reckless behaviors designed to numb, calm or distract us from our stress.
The only effective way to deal with stress is by first understanding how your body reacts to stress through ways like shallow breathing as opposed to deep and relaxed, poor digestion, overheating, sour stomach, muscle tension, etc. Once that’s identified, it’s important to identify the stress trigger (the people, place, action, event) which causes you stress. Once you’ve found that answer, you may want to accept the idea that the stress trigger probably won’t change…but the way you handle it can.
Of course, when it comes to reducing our stress, we can simply start saying “no” more often and take on less. So much of our stress is self imposed based on expectations we’ve designed for ourselves. Unfortunately, this extreme pressure can’t help but take a toll on the way we look, feel and live. Also, when we find ways to take on less we are often better able to stay true to what’s really important to us.
How can you stress less? I’d love to know. Please comment and share!