What is Stress?
Stress…can’t live with it, can’t live without out! We all experience good and bad stress everyday of our lives. Stress is defined as any situation or condition that causes undue physical, emotional and/or mental strain on the body. When you experiences stress, in any form, the adrenal glands secrete specific hormones that have a profound effect on the body. The adrenal glands are tiny organs that look like little “hats” that sit on top of the kidneys. These hats secrete hormones such as cortisol and DHEA in response to stress. Over time, as you experience more and more stress on a daily basis as a result of life challenges, the adrenal glands can begin functioning less optimally. When the adrenal glands are overworked, it can lead to something called adrenal stress. Symptoms of adrenal exhaustion could include: nervousness, poor memory, difficulty with concentration and decision-making, cravings for sweets, weight gain and compromised sleep.
What Can I do About It?
I think we can all agree that stress is unavoidable. The first warning signs of stress are irritability, headaches, digestive trouble, tension in the shoulders and a general uneasiness. While we can’t always control situations we end up in, we can help our minds and bodies be better prepared. Here are a few tips for dealing with stress:
- Schedule time for yourself each day, including making time for some form of exercise
- Deep breathing – take several deep breaths a few times of day, particularly when you’re feeling stressed
- Participate in activities that you enjoy and don’t find stressful such as sports, social events and hobbies
- Get at least 7 – 8 hours of sleep each night; for those undergoing medical treatments be sure to nap when tired
- Eat well-balanced, whole foods to support your immune system, particularly during the flu season
- Find a trusted friend, family member or health counselor to discuss your problems and challenges
- Set realistic and achievable goals in your personal and professional life
- Don’t sweat the small stuff; don’t focus on things that are out of your control
- Prepare in advance for events you know may be stressful, such as a job interview, first date, meeting with your accountant, holidays with the in-laws, etc.
- Try to look at change as a positive challenge, not as a threat to your personal harmony
- Work to resolve conflicts with other people – finding compromise is an important way to alleviate stress