Stress comes when you deny yourself the experience of your authentic feelings for fear of judgement. When you reconnect with your feelings and emotional state with out judgement, you free yourself to love and accept all that you are, just as you are, in spite of any circumstances in life.
Lauren E. Miller
One consistent, significant change, can change your life.
I am a former elementary teacher, so I respect the profession and all it entails. Those “summers off” were necessary for regeneration of body, mind, spirit and emotion. They were also times to gather materials for next year, learn the new strategies or curriculum that often changed, attend trainings, take additional classes or simply to reacquaint with family or friends after a long school year. I use the example of teachers, but there are many other jobs that cause stress, from being a stay at home Domestic COO to the COO of a major corporation.
My first attempt at designing a healthy YOU will be to address STRESS and what it does to the body, emotionally and physically. But more importantly, what you can do to relieve some of that stress, simply, without classes or equipment or too much time involved. Your homework (it’s the teacher in me) will be to decide if you love yourself enough to want to help yourself. It will require MINDFULNESS.
What is stress?
Situations and pressures that put high demands on someone can be stressors. Raising children, job demands, relationship issues, moving, finances, changes in lifestyle, can all demand a lot from a person. But not all stressors are caused by external demands.
Some can be internal or self generated, such as excessive worry about things that may not happen, or irrational, pessimistic thoughts about life.
Finally, how one perceives stress can be a factor. What causes one to be stressed may not phase another, like public speaking or work deadlines.
What are the effects of stress on the body systems?
The brain sends messages to the adrenal glands to release adrenaline and cortisol, which makes the major organs and muscles ready for “fight or flight”. That is beneficial in dangerous situations. But if the body continues to be in a stressed state, those effects remain, and can cause harm or illness.
Respiratory and Cardiovascular Systems
During a stress response, breathing becomes more rapid in an effort to get oxygen- rich blood to the body. The heart pumps faster. Stress hormones cause constriction of blood vessels, diverting oxygen to the muscles. This causes the blood pressure to rise.
If stressors persist or become chronic, it taxes the heart, making it work too long and too hard. This increases the risk of heart attack or stroke.
The Muscular System
As stress persists, the muscles tense up, to protect themselves and the body from injury. If not allowed or encouraged to relax, chronic conditions such as headaches, back and shoulder pain and body aches can occur. Over time these very symptoms can cause unhealthy practices such as taking pain medications, ceasing to exercise or move, eating more or less, procrastinating, or sleeping too much or too little.