Friday, August 5, 2011

Stressed Out?

Feeling stressed out lately? I am. I'm in the middle of making some huge life changes. Changing jobs, changing states, moving, etc. Half my things are in Colorado, half of them are in Oklahoma, I have no job, and $1200 student loan payment to figure out how to make this month. In addition, Sensei Nick is on the other side of the world for the next 34 days or so. Wooo!

So, in light of all the apprehension and anxiety I've been feeling I wanted to share some facts about stress.

Stress is very bad for you. It is incredibly hard on your body.
Stress effects
  • Your Brain: how clearly you think and make decisions as well as how you react emotionally to people and situations. It can also cause headaches and migraines.
  • Your Teeth and Mouth: stress can cause you to clench or grind your teeth, which is very bad for them and can lead to TMJ, problems with joints in your jaw, and some studies show gum disease. Stress can also cause canker sores. 
  • Your Heart: hormones released into your body when feeling stressed cause your heart to beat faster and blood vessels to constrict, stress has also been linked to high blood pressure, blood clots, and even stroke.
  • Your Lungs: people with Asthma or COPD may experience extreme symptoms when stressed
  • You Tummy: stress can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach aches, cramps and even ulcers.
  • Your Skin: stress can cause break outs including acne, cold sores, and fever blisters. 
  • Your Hair: stress can make your hair fall out! Its true. 
  • Your Muscles: stress can cause tension to build up in your muscles, especially around the neck, shoulders and back which can lead to all over body pain
  • Your Immune System: stress also suppresses the immune system and can cause you to be more susceptible to infections. If you want to avoid getting sick, try to avoid stress.
Well... That's some pretty terrible stuff. As I said, stress is VERY hard on your body. Luckily there are things you can do to cope with stress and avoid some of these icky symptoms. These include:

  • SLEEP - be sure to get a good nights rest, 8 hours if you can manage it.
  • EAT PROPERLY - most people eat junk when they're stressed out, but by making sure you eat well balanced meals in healthy portion sizes you'll be doing your body a huge favor.
  • EXERCISE - this one is huge, most people feel too tired when stressed out to work out, but this is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It helps you burn off some steam and is good for your body. Take a walk/jog/run or head to the gym and pump some iron for half an hour. You may not feel like you have time, but usually when you are stressed and feel that way is when you need to work out the most. Make time and you'll feel much better for doing it.
  • PLAN AND PRIORITIZE - planning you schedule, making a to do list, and prioritizing things you need to accomplish can help if you're feeling overwhelmed. Start with some of the small easy stuff and cross these tasks off your list when you are done. This can give you a sense of accomplishment and be a moral booster. You can do it! Don't over-schedule yourself. Also, when setting goals, be sure you are setting SMART goals.
  • RELAX and/or MEDITATE - be sure to take some down time. Take a hot bubble bath, lay down in a quiet place and just focus on breathing techniques, meditate, do something that you find enjoyable and non-stressful. Taking a little time to do something for yourself can help you feel rested and restored. It can quiet your mind and give you better focus and more perspective. One thing I think people don't do enough these days is slow down and relax. Sometimes it really is ok to just do nothing.
  • TALK IT OUT - talk with friends or family, someone you trust about your anxiety, apprehension, and stress. Sometimes just being able to talk it out helps and you'll feel a lot better after you've just gotten it out of your system. Plus, friends and family also usually form a great support network and can be a great source of encouragement and helpful advice. Avoid negative people or people who are more likely to contribute to your stress. 
  • AVOID IF POSSIBLE - finally, avoiding stressful situations (if you can) is the best way to deal with (or not deal with as the case may be) stress and it's side effects. 
So, if you're feeling stressed out, take a walk, eat some fruit and nuts, make a to do list, remember to breathe. Just remember, this too shall pass and you'll be all the stronger for it. Talk to people who are supportive and keep putting one foot in front of the other. 

Have a good week all. I believe in you!



  1. Very encouraging and at a time when I could really use it! A lot of stress-inducing stuff going on right now and sometimes with (seemingly) no end in sight. I just have to remember that although some of this may takes motnhs to resolve, I'll eventually get there!

  2. Nice post SG, I have found that the most beneficial technique for all stress is, "breathe." Not just normal but the types you learn in Yoga and other health systems[yes, MA as well ... you all know that tho]

  3. Having a few weeds in the garden makes you a better gardener.

  4. ^.^

    Quiddityquest - glad I could be of help. I know what you're aiming for and I believe you'll get there!

    Charles - I couldn't agree more, BREATHING helps so much.

    Rick - Very true!

  5. Cortisol is a b-witch, and a mean mistress.