The Benefits of Letting Go
Your Anger, your frustrations, your negative vibrations do not serve you. In fact, they harm you in more ways than just your health and in reality they are actually killing you. So then, why is it you cling to them so tightly? Maybe no one has mentioned this to you before, or maybe this is something you’ve been working on or meaning to work on. Start today, the life you save may just be your own.
So, you’ve hit a snag with a new project. Or maybe that new promotion or job you were hoping for didn’t pan out. The stress we cause ourselves tormenting ourselves over what-might-have-been or should haves is not healthy. Instead of giving up or ripping the hairs from your head perhaps it’s time to slow down, take a step back, and adjust our plans. A change in direction does not always mean a failed attempt, nor does it mean that it will take longer. Sometimes, though we need that extra shove in a different direction. And who knows? It may just be the thing we needed.
Not all change is a bad change, my friends. Sometimes, change can be the catalyst that unlocks a new and healthy reality to us. We talk a lot of mindfulness here on The Daily Kickstand, and I firmly believe it is the answer to most of our life problems. It can be deployed in all areas of our lives. However, let’s look first at the effects of stress on our bodies and then we will discuss some ways to alleviate some if not all of that stress.
The Effects of Stress on the Human Body
Central Nervous System & Endocrine System:
- This is the place where it all begins. Your CNS initiates your fight or flight response and triggers the Hypothalamus to release Adrenaline and Cortisol. To push the blood away from our hearts towards our extremities and prepare the body to fight or flee. When the perceived fear is gone the body regulates back to normal. If it for some reason does not, or if the perceived fear remains the effects can damage the body. Chronic stress symptoms include increased irritability, depression & anxiety. It can cause headaches, nausea, and insomnia. It may also trigger unhealthy coping mechanisms such as over or under eating, substance abuse, and anti-social behaviors.
Cardiovascular & Respiratory Systems:
- The hormones released during stressful situations affect our bodies as well. They increase our breathing to pump our blood full of oxygen for peak performance and constrict our blood vessels, raising our blood pressure to allow us increased strength & energy to take action fast. If we have conditions like Asthma or Emphysema, this can increase our difficulty breathing. Frequent or continuous stress forces our heart to work overtime and raises our risk of hypertension and also the risk of stroke or heart attack.
- Our live produces more blood sugar during times of stress which will raise our energy as well and the unused blood sugar is absorbed back into our body. An excess buildup of that blood sugar that cannot be absorbed into our system may raise our risk of Type 2 Diabetes. The rush of hormones and rapid breathing can cause digestive issues ranging from heartburn and acid reflux to an increase in the bacterium named H. Pylori which causes ulcers. In addition, Nausea stomachache and vomiting are also common with long-term stress exposure. Stress also affects our digestive system by altering the way food moves through our body and can cause diarrhea and constipation as well as inflammation of intestinal walls.
- Our muscles tense up during stressful time to protect themselves from injury and if left unresolved, those tense muscles can cause us headaches, body aches, back pain, and increased muscle spasms. Over time, if those aches are not alleviated then one may resort to pain killers and muscle relaxers which often leads to addiction and unhealthy life choices.
Sexuality & Reproductive Cycles:
- Stress is not only detrimental to physical aspects of our body but also to our sex drive and our abilities to become aroused. People under chronic stress often experience lowered sex drive and lack of desire for intimacy. For women, stress affects the menstrual cycle causing irregular or no menstruation, or even painful and increased menstruation. Men release more testosterone under continual stress which over time actually results in a lower T level which decreases sexual arousal and performance, even causing E.D. and impotency. It also affects the Urethra, Prostate, and Testes which can lead increased risk of infection.
- Stress initially boosts the immune system to ward off disease and infection and heal wounds. However, Cortisol is detrimental to the immune system by inhibiting histamine production and inflammatory response to fight off foreign pathogens making us more susceptible to viral infections and influenza. It also increases recovery time from illness, disease and injury.
It’s important to know what all those stressful things we hold onto can do to our bodies in order to fight those effects. It can be as simple as a change in diet and routine. But, we’re talking about mindfulness and how to handle stressful situations by using mindfulness in our everyday lives to increase our vitality. So, now that we’ve looked at the ways stress can harm our bodies and in reality eventually end our existence, let’s look at some ways to combat the effects of stress.
10 Ways to Combat Stress in Our Daily Lives
- Diet & Exercise
- Healthy Sleep Cycles
- Returning to Nature/Outdoor Activity
- Journal Writing
- Change of Job/Routine
- Creative Outlets for Stress Release
- Talking With Friends/Healthy Social Life
These are just a few of the ways we can combat stress in our daily lives. What works for some may not work for us, so we really need to be our own judge and jury when trying these methods. If you find that something works, stick with it. Using multiple combinations of the above techniques will surely help you regulate the damaging effects of stress in your life. But, no one can tell you what will work for you. The list above is in no way exhausting or comprehensive. Feel free and be encouraged to seek out what will work for you to best alleviate the everyday stress this super busy lives we live cause us.
Be mindful of your mental and physical signs and symptoms of stress you are feeling and remember, it’s only life- not a single one of us gets out of it alive. Have fun, be productive and remember that while it is important to provide for ourselves and for those we love, it is equally if not more important to find something we love to do and do it well. Stress is a part of life, but it doesn’t have to rule us or our lives. We alone are in control of what we will and will not accept. And if you are doing something that doesn’t agree with you or causes you undue stress, then it is time to look at whether or not that is worth the damage it is causing you. Your life depends on it.