WHAT'S STRESS?

So the title is a bit facetious.  We can all relate to that tense feeling rising in our chest and the shallow breathing.  Perhaps a slight headache and irritability.  Those are all clues that our fight-or-flight response is triggered.  

Identifying stress and learning to relax when drama is unfolding all around us is not an easy task.

the science of stress  

This science is complex but I'll be brief here.  When a stressful event occurs, our adrenals are triggered (via a hormonal feedback loop) to release cortisol and catecholamines (like adrenaline).  High cortisol levels have a wide-range of effects on our body, including inhibiting what your body deems as non-essential during a time of crisis (such as digestion and healing your skin; among many other important functions).  Our body doesn't know how to differentiate between an acute stressful event (i.e. car accident) versus chronic daily stressors (i.e. running behind for an appointment).  If we stay in a chronic stress state, it'll create inflammation which is at part of the pathology of most chronic disease.

 

signs of stress

There's many signs that indicate if chronic stress has impacted us; including, hair loss, facial and body hair growth, headaches, brain fog, poor memory, PMS, dry or wrinkly skin, weight gain, food cravings, among many other symptoms.

5 ways to lower stress

Resilience is being able to adapt despite life difficulties.  We can never completely eliminate stress from our lives but we can support ourselves in handling it better using these following tips.

1/   Sleep 7 – 9 hours each night (if you wake up refreshed and energized, you know you got enough zzz's)

2/   Mild to moderate exercise (daily)

3/   Have fun!  Make time to laugh!

4/  Challenge your brain

5/  Get outside!

March 30, 2020 — Hanna Hendrickson

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