So…Do you think you are stressed? It is that time of the year! The Happy Holidays!! Just more stuff to worry about. Pay the bills, get to work on time, finish deadlines, put away Thanksgiving décor, and get out Christmas. Dealing with family you haven’t seen since last Christmas. Parties to go to or parties to plan. Go on vacation with kids. Gifts to buy. We feel like the ever-ready battery bunny, 24-7 go-go-go. Don’t you just want the world to slow down so you can catch up!
Let’s just take a deep breath.. slowly inhale to count of 5 and slowly exhale to count of five. Isn’t that better? Slow deep breaths can calm your nerves, expand your lungs, and feed more oxygen to your brain. Think about the last relaxing thing you did. Maybe a hot bath or a massage. Maybe snuggling with your spouse and watching a movie. Can you feel the tension leave your body? Did you feel the difference between the two thoughts (stressed and relaxed)? Sooo…you think you are stressed…was just a thought, right?
Stress is hard to define for the simple fact that everyone has a different way to describe it. Take for example a person gets pulled over for speeding. One person may ‘thank’ the officer because it may have saved him from a crash down the road. The next person may cry that they can’t pay for a ticket or have the points put on their license. The third person may be angry and just continue to speed later. When stress occurs, it causes the body and mind to react as if under an attack. This is the ‘fight-or-flight” response. The cells are pumped up and needing extra fuel. After the stressful moment of confrontation is over, the body still is trying to find the enemy. Feel drained mentally and may feel physically sick.
The dictionary defines Stress as pressure or tension put on a material object. That sounds like lifting weights, doesn’t it? Exercise is a great stress-reduction behavior. Stress can be mental and physical. Perceived stress has the same effect and can be potentially more harmful. Our perception of stress can alter our health and will affect our immune system. Mental stress lasts longer, and your brain takes notes storing the stressors in your memory.
I recommend that if you have the chance to take the 14-item Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), do so. http://www.mindgarden.com/documents/PerceivedStressScale.pdf
It will help you to see that the major of your stress is perceived. Not for real but only what you think is real.
Researchers have pointed to perceived stress from one’s perception can alter the body’s physiology. They have studied psychosocial and environmental factors on stressful events and the perceived outlook from participants. Cohen, Kamarck, and Mermelstein (1984) proposed the perceived stress scale in their article to the Journal of Health and Social Behavior. More and more studies are being conducted on perceived stress. For example, Novak and colleagues (2013) found on a 35-year follow-up, those who claimed self-perceived permanent stress at the beginning developed type 2 diabetes years later. Another risk factor for type 2 diabetes is a stressful working environment and poor coping resources (Lian, et al 2018).
Here are some tips to reduce the stress in your life. My best stress-reduction behaviors are exercise, massage therapy, reflexology, watching movies, cleaning my house (believe it or not, ask my neighbor), and aromatherapy. Go for walks, color or paint, play mindless games, socialize with friends, long hot baths with aroma oils, meditation, a comfortable rocking chair, and listening to music. Loving family pets take the stress away as well. Just being quiet or praying, will reduce stress. Essential oils have been known to reduce stress, like lavender.
To stay healthy through the holidays and into a brand-new year, think about your stress differently. It’s all perception if you stop to think about it. Take one stressful thing that normally gets you all tensed-up and think of it differently. It could be your boss or in-laws, so it is the best thing for your health to find something you do like about them. Driving in traffic could be stressful…just turn on your favorite music and sing along. Whatever it is…be creative and change your concept of that person or thing or event. Thinking positively will send out chemical messengers and nice hormones that will keep you healthy and stop the low-grade inflammation that your immune system started when you were feeling stressed. The mind is a powerful organ and it is up to us to use it to its full potential and control it from overemphasizing stress appraisals.
Another way to de-stress is to use essential oils. There is a lot of research studies on the beneficial effects of essential oils. Lavender and vetiver for relaxing nervous tension. Lemon and sweet orange refreshes and has anti-bacterial properties, which is great for skin care. The list goes on and on. Not only are oils good for mental and physical well being, but some oils can also support the immune system and are anti-microbial (kills viruses and bacteria). I have combined eight oils for that very action, called Immune 8. You can check out the oils and their benefits at this link https://www.immune8.com/immune-8-blend-and-beneficial-actions / and also check out the products from those oils at Immune8.com
To Your Health & Happiness!!