I’m sure we can all agree that we’ve felt stressed at some point, maybe you’ve even felt stressed this week. It could of been anything that triggered it, you had a deadline to meet in work, you trained hard all week, your relationship, family members or even someone who cut across you today in the car lane. We all know the feeling well, sometimes it can materialise in our body with pressure or tightness building up or it can be present in the mind like overthinking things, worrying about the worst outcomes etc..
What not everyone may know though is that stress is good. However, like most things in life too much stress (chronic stress) is of course bad. But once we address it in the early stages we can use it to our advantage.
So in this article we’re going to discuss how we can notice and manage it a lot quicker, which will help us use stress for its original purpose: To fight (overcome) our challenging situations that we face weekly/daily.
What we’ll cover
- Stress, The What The Why The When
- The Perils Of Neglecting Stress
- Natural Ways To Release & Find OHMMMMMMM
Stress, The What, Why And When
Stress is our bodies function to let us know that we need an immediate reaction to changes in our environment or threats to our wellbeing. When our bodies sense an event that needs a response, adrenaline and cortisol is flooded into our system to make sure we’re alert and ready to take action. Put short stress is an evolutionary response, which help us develop and overcome.
“Times of stress are also times that are signals for growth”
Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski
Our lives of course nowadays are not so much under threat, maybe like they were 100s of years ago. We live in a relatively peaceful time, and yet we still experience stress. This is because our mindset to what stressful situations are have shifted. Some examples could be work or study related tasks, entrepreneurship, losing a job, a physical challenge, an argument with a loved one or even marriage. The list is both endless and unique to each one of us, so it’s vitally important we acknowledge the signs and situation which cause stress for us.
This will be the first step to being able to use it to our advantage.
The Perils Of Neglecting Stress
If we do not acknowledge or try to deal with the stress in a healthy manner it can result in chronic stress, which will seem like a mountain to climb. Some things which may lead to this are alcohol, bad diet, neglecting our thoughts, constantly overplaying the negative narrative that’s causing it but most importantly not being proactive to treating it.
Continued decisions to not deal with your stress, or to bury it, could result in things like chronic pain, weight loss or gain, hair loss, depression, anxious behaviour, high blood pressure, skin conditions etc.. Again this list is nearly exhaustive and unique to each individual. But common factors among stressed people are lack of sleep, overthinking about negative things and build up of inflammation within the body. Which all together can lead into more serious issues.
But have no fear, we as humans are magic and powerful beings. With the right mindset and tools we can address, utilise and control our own thoughts, bodies and behaviours.
Which leads me on to….
Natural Ways To Utilise Stress
The first and most important one, which we’ve covered briefly already, is to identify what is causing you stress. When we identify our stressors we can then categorize them as good or bad stressors. This categorisation can then let us determine whether it’s something we work toward or just take away from our life.
Second, but just as important as the one above, is responsibility. We must realise that the stress we are feeling, even if triggered by an environmental factor, is our reaction. The stress belongs to us and stems from us alone, meaning we control it. It is our fault that we’re annoyed at the person who chews loudly, not the loud chewer’s fault.
So we must take responsibility for the feeling, and in the inverse to Spiderman “great responsibility, comes with great power”. Once we realise it’s actually us that controls the annoyance, we can then work to switching it off or dealing with it, as opposed to telling the person to “shut the fu*k up chewing loudly, you chewbacca bollox”, because that’s not going to help anyone have a peaceful and stress free day.
Manage & Plan Your Time
If you find that you’re increasingly under pressure or strapped for time, and this type of stress doesn’t suit your mindset. Well then plan your days and weeks. When you’re in a more chill mindset, maybe at the weekend, take time to set down what you want to do and achieve this week and don’t deter from it.
Once you follow a plan which you created while you were peaceful, your week will more than likely be peaceful. However, I would suggest leaving some spare time for the things that pop up which you can’t account for.
We’ve touched on this topic in our article on sleep, and I’m sure we’ll touch on it again, but deservedly so. Meditation is a powerful tool that has been practiced by humans since 1500 BCE (3518 years ago), and if you’ve practiced it it’s no wonder why it’s been around this long. Sitting for just 5-10 minutes alone and focusing on breath, is extremely relaxing.
Nowadays our attention is sought for so much, like social media & TV series binging, that we feel we have no time to dedicate to this practice. But really, we sit on social media constantly with not much reward. So it would be wise to take some of that time and invest in a mindfulness practice. This can help your stress on the body and mind relax in a wonderful, and almost instant, way. It helps you clear your mind of the negative/recurring thoughts that you find your stress is attached to.
And with that a calmness ensues.
Of course one tool our community utilises is exercise. Whatever your discipline, this is one of the most powerful tools to help deal with stressful thoughts/situations. Going in to training and giving 100% focus, for whatever period of time, is a great way to free your mind. And when it’s finished you can come out and realise there wasn’t actually much
Spending time outdoors whether it be walking, hiking or just sitting in the park is a lovely way to relax the mind. Nature is inherently peaceful and balanced, so go and immerse yourself in that environment and take from it the balance and peace you need to deal with the stress that’s on your mind.
For situations where you feel you don’t have the answer or a stuck on this loop but it needs attention, you can speak to your colleagues, friends or family to try help work through it. A problem at work could be helped by new perspectives, something that’s making you stressed and unhappy could be helped just by speaking about it to someone who cares.
Speaking is a powerful tool, and one which shouldn’t be looked past.
Should you find yourself in a mindframe where you don’t want to speak to others about what’s making you stressed, you could always journal. When we write down things we’re annoyed about and what we’re happy about it tends to relieve us of the worry attached to it. Or simply taking pen to paper to plan what you’re going to do to get out of the stressful situation is reassuring on the mind and enough to alleviate it too.
CBD is relaxing on the mind and body too.
Once we give ourselves the opportunity to assess our stress and deal with it in a natural and proactive manner, we can alleviate any negative feelings from it and draw new perspectives, which can motivate us to move forward.
Through the act of moving forward we grow.