“Too blessed to be stressed”. Whoever first said that and is truly living that way, may they continue to be blessed!
Now, for the rest of us humans who must bounce back and forth with daily doses of stress…
Over the years, there has been a growing focus on stress, its effects on our health, plus ways to cope with it, and thankfully so, because the number of stressors seems to keep growing as well.
We are all naturally equipped to handle stress in small amounts. However, when the amount of stress is greater and goes on long-term, and with no relief, coping techniques or support, the effects can be seriously damaging to our musculoskeletal system, respiratory system, cardiovascular system, endocrine system, gastrointestinal system, nervous system, male and female reproductive systems. Yes, all that!
So, the key words are “long-term”. That’s when the damage is done. When we don’t have control of a situation, we must have tools/resources to help us manage stress. When we do have control of the situation, then we must choose to act accordingly.
You can do a search online and find countless articles about the effects of stress on our health, and countless others about ways to manage stress. For example, before writing this newsletter I wanted to read some recent articles about stress so that I could refresh my memory and get familiar with the latest information. Well, you can imagine the amount of articles that popped up when I began to look. It’s enough to cause some stress haha! But this is the type of situation where I do have control and can act accordingly. So, I chose not to read more than 3 articles, and I also chose to share the links with you here so that you have the choice to read more or not to read more.
Please remember this when it comes to great sources of stress like the mainstream media/the news and social media. While we may not have control over what comes at us through these streams of information, we do have control over how much we consume. We can stop scrolling, stop watching, stop listening. If we live with a person who chooses to drown in these streams of information for hours and we can’t control what they do or convince them to stop, we could for example, choose to put on headphones and listen to pleasant music while reading a book, or grab a coloring book and do some coloring while listening to an audio book, or go for a walk, sit outside, do some chores. We can say “thanks, that’s enough for me right now”, we can ask about other subjects to divert the conversation. If you need help with a more specific stressful situation, please contact me through the form in my Services Page, or hit the green chat bubble on the left side of the screen to send a message and together we can find other resources.
The American Psychological Association (APA) recommends a few strategies:
- Maintaining a healthy social support network
- Engaging in regular physical exercise
- Getting an adequate amount of sleep each night
These are good approaches that take care of physical and mental health. Of course nothing is just black and white, there are individual situations that require additional strategies, different approaches and extra help. Please do reach out to your doctor or therapist, friend, healer, if you feel that you need help. Even though there are many resources online to help us all take action toward a healthier, more balanced lifestyle, we don’t have to do it all alone. There is strength and power in recognizing that help is needed and in accepting help that is offered and/or available to us.
In the past I have shared various helpful meditations and breathing exercises. There’s alternate nostril breathing, journaling, Mudra for slowing the flood of thoughts, meditation for strong nerves and more. Please visit my YouTube channel here to learn these helpful practices.
The breath is a powerful way to manage stress and more. Pay attention to your breathing when you are stressed. You will notice that it is different then, and you can begin to correct it. Taking deep, slow breaths is a simple way to start. More complex exercises are available of course.
Sound is another powerful way to manage stress. Be mindful of what you listen to, and when you are stressed, take note of what you’ve been listening to. The sound of nature is so healing that recordings can be found easily, in case you don’t have access to being there. The sound of a cat purring, and the sound of almost any musical instrument can be a source of healing and de-stressing. There are many, more specific types of sound that can help us relax, so I will not go into any further detail on here and save that for a future sound-healing newsletter.
Practices like Reiki offer relaxation and overall balance. Treatments can be in-person or remote, which makes Reiki accessible to many. Check out my website for more information and to read some testimonials from my clients (scroll down on homepage). More and more hospitals are including Reiki as a complimentary offer to patients (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, NY Presbyterian, Yale New Haven to name just a few).
And remember that it takes time and practice to get back into a more balanced state. Do not expect to have optimum results if you only practice a breathing exercise for one minute today and you don’t do it again for a week. Consistency is important.
Try out different strategies, exercises, techniques. And remember that it takes time and practice to get back into a more balanced state. Do not expect to have optimum results if you only practice a breathing exercise for one minute today and you don’t do it again for a week. Consistency is important. Consider the stress levels you are dealing with, and act accordingly. Having multiple practices and tools is great because you can change it up as needed.
Here is an example for myself. I asses stress levels and let’s say it’s mid level (a 5 or 6 on a scale of 1-10). So, I practice 3-5 minutes of alternate nostril breathing (learn this practice in my YouTube channel), sit in the sun outside for 10 minutes listening to the birds and other nature sounds. I remind myself to drink more water, and I take Shaklee’s Stress Relief Complex alone or together with MoodLift® Complex. I’ll dance while cooking and/or cleaning. I’ll get in the sauna and cry if I feel it coming. Before bed, I listen to some relaxing sounds. If I feel like I need some extra help with sleep I take a Dream Serene at least half an hour before bedtime. Again this is just one example of how I would asses and take action. I have other tools that I use, and seeking additional support is always on the table.
As always, I will tell you that while we are all capable of taking action to heal ourselves, reaching out for help is ok and sometimes necessary. We all deserve to receive extra support. Please don’t deny that to yourself. If you feel like you can’t afford it, I am here to tell you that if you ask you will find a way. So please ask!
In conclusion, we are all naturally equipped to deal with small, short term amounts of stress, but not with long-term chronic amounts of stress. When this is the case, it is crucial to take action in order to stay healthy. That action will be different for each of us depending on the stress levels and the tools/resources we have gathered.
May we all live balanced lives with small, manageable amounts of stress.
Stress effects on the body (APA): https://www.apa.org/topics/stress/body
The effects of stress: https://www.stress.org/stress-effects