Stress – My life a mess..?

Life seems to be endlessly complex and demanding… It is easy to get fed up and wonder if it should be this complicated.

In Retrospective: I went from a newborn baby with zero understanding of the world or ability to care for myself to who I am today. I learned how to ride a bike, to cook and to create my own living space. I made friends and enemies, got through almost 19 years of schooling, gained lovers and lost loved ones, sat in traffic and paid bills. Lessons learned, knowledge gained and life lived was all through trial and error.

I want to share one of my favourite quotes by Steve Maraboli: “Every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being re-directed to something better.”

Stress makes us believe that everything needs to happen right NOW. Faith gives us the reassurance that everything happens exactly when it is supposed to.

No one lives without experiencing some degree of stress. Even sheer joy is enough to activate the body’s stress mechanism. Stress can make one person sick but yet invigorate another. The main objective is: “Your system must be prepared and able to cope and deal with it.”

Stress Response (Biological changes) to the body: Heart rate and force of contraction of the heart increases, blood is shunted away from the skin and internal organs (except heart and lungs), sweat production increases, production of digestive secretions is reduced and blood sugar levels are increased. Relaxation Response will have the opposite and positive effect on the body.

Conditions linked to stress includes Angina, Asthma, Autoimmune disease, Cancer, Cardiovascular disease, Common Cold, Depression, Diabetes, Headaches, Hypertension, Immune suppression, IBS, Menstrual irregularities, PMS, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Ulcerative Colitis and Ulcers to name but a few.

Physicians utilize a method, the Social Readjustment Rating Scale, developed by Holmes and Rahe, to rate stress levels. Ranked at the top is death of a spouse followed by divorce and marital separation, jail term and the death of a close family member.

My guidelines to Stress Management:

  • Identify stressors and eliminate or reduce sources of stress
  • Surround yourself with who makes you happy and makes you smile
  • Breathe with the diaphragm as this will decrease stress and increase energy
  • Manage time effectively
  • Communicate regularly in all relationships
  • Ensure you get good quality sleep – my recommendation: more than 6 hours.
  • Exercise regularly – consider Dance Movement Therapy, join a yoga class or take a stroll in the park
  • Spoil yourself to a Hot Stone massage, holiday or start a new hobby like painting or reading a good book
  • Eliminate or restrict the intake of caffeine and alcohol
  • Eliminate refined carbohydrates in the diet
  • Increase potassium-to-sodium ratio in your diet
  • Consider adrenal supportive therapy
  • Consult a registered phytotherapist / medical herbalist to prescribe botanical medicines such as Panax ginseng and Eleutherococcus senticosus. These herbs have a high toxicity level with several side effects but correctly prescribed improves the ability to deal with stress
  • Go for a Reiki treatment

Visualization can definitely aid in calming body and mind: Imagine floating on the surface of a mountain lake. Feel the deep blue water cooling and calming you. Allow your body to dissolve over the surface of the lake. Stay with the calm, relaxing, floating feelings.

Let’s look on the bright side: relax a little, smile a while and give yourself the credit you deserve… Getting this far is an accomplishment! Use it as a shield against feelings of failure, not being good enough and for not conforming to the norm. Remember: Life is not meant to be travelled backwards. It is a rollercoaster ride – Enjoy it.