There are days when life rolls over you like a freight train. When everything is just too much. Too many of us are stressed out with no end in sight and it’s making us sick in brand new ways.
Lack of proper nutrition, poor hydration, inadequate sleep, financial worry, and toxic relationships are no longer unusual. Stressed out and feeling like crap is the new “normal.”
We push and push ourselves until we break then wonder why we’re constantly sick, get chronic headaches, and suffer from mood swings. We ask too much of our bodies and our mental ability to just keep rolling with everything that gets thrown our way.
According to the American Psychological Association’s (APA) 2010 Stress in America survey, 40% of adults in the US lose sleep at night due to stress. This is no way to live!40% of adults in the U.S. lose sleep at night due to stress. Click To Tweet
Stress is the psychological and physical response of your body when confronted with exterior factors. There are many types of stress: chronic stress, acute stress, or oxidative stress. Left unchecked and untended, all three can have serious, long ranging effects on your quality of life.
Oxidative stress occurs at the cellular level. This stress to your physical body never stops since it occurs during your natural metabolic process. Environmental conditions also cause oxidative stress so your body never gets a break.
Chief Causes of Oxidative Stress
- Poor Nutrition Lack of basic nutrients is thought to be the primary cause of oxidative stress and the production of free radicals.
- Too Much Exercise You produce and release even more free radicals when you exercise. If you don’t increase antioxidant intake, the damage can ultimately be extensive.
- Medication Many drugs contain toxins that affect basic processes in your body and boost oxidation and free radical production.
This form of stress causes psychological, emotional, and physical strain for a short period of time. Acute stress is a natural and healthy response of your body to exterior factors or situations. It doesn’t typically affect the body in the long term since the ebb and flow of daily life tends to resolve issues.
You feel acute stress in many common situations. Your body releases the same stress hormones when you see a police car pulling you over for speeding as it does when you’re strapped into a theme park’s most death-defying ride.
Fear, anger, or other stimulation will release adrenaline (also known as epinephrine) and cortisol into your body to prepare it for an energetic reaction – like “fight or flight”. These are the hormones that make your heart race and your body tighten in expectation.
Chief Causes for Acute Stress:
- Critical exams
- Physical challenges
- Financial crisis
However, when a truly traumatic event takes place in your life – such as an accident, robbery, death of a loved one, or any situation that has a major impact on you – acute stress can develop into Acute Stress Disorder and then Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) if left unchecked. This type of stress eases over time with proper care and attention.
Though regular acute stress is a natural bodily reaction, there are some people who seem to live in a state of constant anxiety.
You might know someone like this. A person who takes on too much or can’t organize the chaos in their life. This makes them irritable, short-tempered, and easily aroused to negative emotion. They may experience tension headaches, migraines, and chest pain but are unable to change ingrained habits. Antioxidants can help to level the mood but therapy may be required to establish long-term results.
Chronic stress is a state of prolonged tension – caused by internal or external factors – that can manifest in physical symptoms like asthma, back pain, fatigue, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcers, insomnia, and a weakening of the immune system.
Chief Causes for Chronic Stress:
- Poverty or sudden/extreme financial crisis
- Family dysfunction or abuse
- Toxic relationship problems
- Job or career unhappiness
- Internalized early childhood trauma
- Deep-Seated Fears or Phobias
Scientists have proven direct links between chronic stress and obesity, diabetes, mood or behavioral disorders, heart disease, stroke, substance abuse, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and suicide risk.
Experiencing exhaustion, low immunity, or a lack of crucial nutrients makes you highly susceptible to this debilitating form of stress.
Chronic stress can, and will, slowly kill you if not addressed.Chronic stress can, and will, slowly kill you if not addressed.Click To Tweet
The American Psychological Association (APA) has suggested that unhealthy chronic stress – and the way we manage it – has led to the obesity epidemic. I’ve seen many people in my life “eat their emotions” and it is easy to see how comfort foods can lead to obesity, depression, and a sense of hopelessness.
When circumstances merge to create chronic stress, your body is tricked into responding as if you’re in constant imminent danger and releases the stress hormones for acute stress (adrenalin and cortisol) to try and combat it.
Short bursts of stress hormones for short periods of time are natural and beneficial – minutes or a couple of hours – when you have something to overcome. However, when these same reactive hormones remain elevated for more than a few hours, it becomes dangerous. Our bodies are not designed to be constantly stressed out and will eventually begin to shut down.
Stress isn’t always controllable. It might not be easy to “snap out of it” because chronic stress is a complex condition, much of which is not completely understood.
Modern Life Encourages Stress
There are never enough hours in the day and with the state of the economy, most of us are forced to work more than ever before and deal with stressful jobs we can’t afford to lose.
We don’t slow down or take time to relax because we can’t afford to. It takes a toll on our minds and bodies evidenced more with every pharmaceutical commercial on television for sleep aids, depression aids, cholesterol medication, and on and on.
There are thousands of preventable diseases and a synthetic treatment for each and every one. With more than 100,000 deaths from pharmaceutical drugs every year – why wouldn’t you try to find a natural solution to every ailment in your life – including stress?
Is it any wonder that our physical bodies are convinced we’re under constant attack? If you’re stressed out and ready to make it stop, here are some natural suggestions that can help.Being stressed out doesn’t have to be your new “normal.”Click To Tweet
9 Natural Stress Relievers
- Eat right, exercise regularly, and get plenty of sleep.
- Engage in something mindless like cleaning house, washing your car, or doing yard work (turn on your favorite music while you do it).
- Take a nature break – when was the last time you watched a sunset or a storm roll in?
- Take a walk with your dog or a close friend for time to think.
- Don’t neglect “ME” time – whether that means a nice soak or a day at the spa.
- Cut back on your schedule, learn to say NO and truly mean it.
- Set goals you can accomplish – don’t overextend yourself (it sets you up to fail).
- Pray, try some focused meditation, or take up yoga.
- Indulge in your favorite hobby – drawing, cooking, reading, writing, quilting, anything that makes you feel good and gives you peace.
Being stressed out doesn’t have to be your new “normal.” Refuse to accept it as something you have no choice but to deal with…because you don’t. Take steps now to protect yourself.
“The mark of a successful man is one that has spent an entire day on the bank of a river without feeling guilty about it.” ~ Author Unknown