- Alyssa Abrahamson
There’s nothing sexy about stress.
Stress! What's the deal? How do you deal with it?
Stress Truth #1: We know stress can be damaging to our health, especially when it’s chronic. Stress wears down your body's natural defenses. Stress can bring about headaches, insomnia, indigestion and acid reflux. Stress can decrease your libido and contribute to depression, fertility problems, inflammation, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
Stress Truth #2: We also know stress can be good and helpful. Stress can give you motivation to complete a project or achieve your goals at the gym. Good stress comes with having a baby or starting your dream job. It can keep you out of danger or keep you safe.
But the stress I’m focusing on is self-imposed stress. The undue, unhealthy and unnecessary stress, anxiety, worry, and fear that becomes detrimental to your wellbeing.
Do you consider yourself a perfectionist?
So many of us live with the pressure that we need to be perfect and we expect ourselves to do everything “right” all the time. When you set impossible to meet standards -- perfection -- you end up beating yourself up, and adding more emotional stress and turmoil to your life.
Are you a worrywart?
Do you constantly worry and stress yourself out fearing and fretting about things that are unknown and out of your control? Where does worrying get you?
One thing that I’ve worked on for years is overcoming the need to be perfect. That pressure and stress I put on myself for most of my life took a significantly negative toll on my emotional and physical health. Over the past several years I've made significant strides in how I respond to stressful situations. I've learned to stop being self-critical. I've learned to relax. I've learned to stop putting pressure on myself to be perfect and began calling myself a “Recovering Perfectionist.” Even though I’ve come a long way with self-compassion, stress reduction, and living with more ease, I continue to keep myself in check so I don’t fall into my old patterns.
Are you stressed about your stress?
Stress Truth #3: One of the worst things you can do is stress about your stress.
Stress Truth #4: One of the best things you can do is learn to shift your mindset about the circumstance(s) giving you grief and causing that stress.
Learning to trust yourself and trust the process of life is a first step to keeping stress from overwhelming you!
There are lots of things you can do to help relieve your response to stress and shift your thinking to better support you. Here are a few suggestions:
Acknowledge. Learn to recognize the signs of your body’s response to stress. That may be difficulty sleeping, having low energy, over or under eating, increased alcohol or substance use, or easily getting angry or impatient.
Move your body. Take a walk, take a Peloton or Zumba class. Exercise and moving your body helps you release stress, gets you out of your head, and improves your mood.
Set boundaries. Be mindful of what you can and cannot take on. Think about who you really want to spend time with and who you don’t.
Breathe. Notice and pay attention to your breathing! Is your breathing shallow or do you find yourself sighing often? Those are stress indicators.
Let’s embrace more relaxed and stress-free days. Are you with me?!
March 10, 2020