It is important to be proactive about managing your stress if you are experiencing the following symptoms of stress-overwhelm:
- Consistently feeling low on energy
- The feeling that you are just a cog in a machine
- Frequent headaches
- Frequent stomach-related issues such as indigestion, constipation or nausea
- Frequent aches, pains and tense muscles
- Waking up groggy after a normal night’s sleep
- Frequent illnesses
- Reduction in sexual drive or performance
- Reduction in spontaneity and enjoyment of life
- The feeling that you are not in control of your own life
In our ancestral environment, stress responses kept us alive. When our ancestors encountered a dangerous situation, their heart rate and blood pressure would immediately increase and their pupils would dilate to allow them to take in every bit of information about the threat for immediate response. The entire body system was set to high alert for the duration of the threat. The body shifted from ‘growth and repair’ mode to ‘emergency survival’ mode.
As part of this response, oxygen and nutrients would be shunted away from the organs to the major muscle groups to allow for a quick escape. Once the danger had passed, the stress response would pass. Stress is considered an adaptive and important response because it helped keep our ancestors alive. The fact that we are here today proves that our ancestors stayed alive long enough to procreate and pass on their successful traits, including their stress response, to their children.
In a way, we can thank stress for our very existence. The problem is that in our modern society there are a large number of stressors that may be affecting us at any given time. In many people, these stressors overlap to create prolonged stress responses that negatively impact our physical, emotional and mental well-being. We are constantly running from “the bear that is not there.” Prolonged stress responses reduce our quality of life and can create ill health.
If you are experiencing a lower quality of life due to stress, you are not alone. How would your life be different if you could take back control of your stress response? Make the decision today to get out of “survive” mode and into “thrive” mode.
“Understand this and be free: We are not in our bodies, our bodies are inside us.” – Sean A. Mulvihill
“Give your stress wings and let it fly away.” – -Terry Guillemets
“The day she let go of the things that were holding her down was the day she began to shine the brightest.” – -Katrina Mayer