We hear the word stress thrown out there so often that it has kind of become meaningless.
What is the big deal about stress anyway? The big deal about stress is that it is the underlying factor in every disease you can think of. We all have a weak link in our chain and under stress, that’s where the chain is going to break. That’s where we are going to see ill health show up. Stress can turn on disease promoting genes that might have otherwise remained switched off. That’s a pretty big deal.
So what is stress anyway? Stress is wanting reality to be different than it is. Stress is fear and lack of trust in our future. Stress is perceiving our situation in a negative way.
Stress can make us crave sugar and processed carbs to sooth our emotions and as a quick source of fuel for our muscles so we can fight or take flight. Stress raises our blood pressure. Stress shuts down our digestive system making it hard for us to extract nutrients from our food and can lead to irritable bowl syndrome and other digestive disorders.
So what can we do about it? Relax. Find a few moments each day to unplug and slow down. Activities that help us to relax and de-stress are ones that encourage deep, rhythmic breathing. Deep breathing sends the message to your body that you are safe. Some of these activities include meditation, guided meditation or visualization work, yoga, and tai chi. Writing in a gratitude journal also affords us that little break to slow down and switch gears. I enjoy little reminders throughout the day to stop and take a conscious, deep, cleansing breath. I sign up for positive reminders that remind me stop, relax and refocus. I also have a mindfulness chime app on my phone that I can set to go off periodically throughout the day as a reminder to take that much needed breath. And finally as pictured above, one of my favorite ways to relax and de-stress is to take a walk in nature…And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul!