To take control and reduce stress, you must understand its impact on your body.
Your thoughts or emotions can trigger stress.
Furthermore, stress may be real or perceived.
Many of us assume that thoughts and emotions have little impact on our physical body. However if we think that something is a threat (even if it may not be), our body will react the same way as if there is a real threat.
For instance, if you think you may be fired from your job (even though this may not be true), your body will react the same way as if you were being fired.
There is an intricate connection between the mind and body!
Think of a time you were afraid. What happened to your body?
Your heart started racing, your palms became sweaty, your pupils dilated amongst other bodily reactions.
Think of a time you had to do a presentation to a large group of people. What thoughts or emotions did you feel? And what happened to your body as a result?
As you stood in front of this large group, you may have felt tension in your shoulders, sweaty palms or felt “butterflies” in your stomach.
EMOTIONS have an impact on your BODY’s physiology!
When we are stressed our hypothalamus (in our brain) detects the threat. The hypothalamus fires to the pituitary (another organ in the brain), which in turn sends message to adrenals for fight or flight. As a result adrenaline and cortisol are released.
This is beneficial when we experience short-lived stressors.
However chronic stress has a detrimental affect on the digestive system, immune system, neurological and other bodily systems.
Stress can result in physiological dysfunction and various health conditions.
So the question is how can we take control and break this cycle of stress?
Here are 3 simple ways to take control and reduce stress:
By being mindful we are choosing to be aware of the present moment with non-judgment. This includes being aware of thoughts, feelings and sensations within our bodies and also experiences in our surroundings.
By paying attention to our body we can become aware of tension or tightness. Awareness then allows us to change the physical bodily sensations. Body awareness may be achieved by doing a body “scan” – literally scanning the body from head to toes and noticing the sensations in each part of the body. Stretching also makes us aware of areas in which we hold tightness and allows us to loosen into those feelings.
When we are afraid or stressed we tend to hold our breath. This affects the flow of oxygen and carbon dioxide within our bodies, which in turn affects all organs and cells. Remembering to breathe deeply allows us to break the cycle of stress and tension.
Hopefully, some of the suggestions above will help you to reduce stress and bring more calm into your life.