Published on April 01, 2019
As we pound the pavements with our double shot skinny lattes firmly in hand, it somehow became a thing that being stressed and tired was a badge of honour – as though it was a sign of some kind of success. But the reality is that being stressed isn’t good for us at all.
“New research is showing that stress can actually rewire a very important part of the brain known as the Limbic System, which controls emotion and memory. Recent studies of mice have revealed that the brains of highly-stressed mice suffered from physical changes that made them more prone to depression and anxiety.” Dr. Bradley Nelson, D.C., author of The Emotion Code.
It’s not just your brain that is affected - other side-effects include lowered immune function and elevated blood sugar and blood fat levels. Not good.
So here are 4 ways to protect yourself from stress in your life:
1) Pick your battles wisely. Studies have shown that we get more stressed out by arbitrary events than by those we can prepare for or can control. So, think about which elements of a situation you do and don't have power over and instead of stressing, consciously accepting what you can’t change whilst trying to change things that you can.
2) Think bigger. When anxiety is triggered within us, this automatically narrows our mental perspective which means we don’t always think broadly about solving a problem. But if we are aware of this, we can try and overcome it by expanding our thinking, for example – can we see instead the stressor as an opportunity? Or as a challenge to be overcome? Redirecting our thought patterns like this can go a long way towards controlling the stressful situation and can also serve to enhance motivation levels.
Rather than focusing on avoiding stress, focus on what you can gain from the situation and the skills and strengths you already possess to master it. Think about active, positive ways to address the stressor and how you might learn and grow from dealing with it.
3) No. Learn the power of that simple word. Be self-aware and when things are getting too much, simply say “no’. Don’t be a martyr and take on more work if It interferes with your stress levels and your health. It just isn’t worth it.
4) Exercise daily and eat right. Even if you’re sat behind a desk for most of the day, look for ways to boost your activity levels. Use the stairs instead of the lift, get off the bus one stop earlier. When you go out to eat with friends, come prepared with stories to tell so you’re talking more, and as a result, eating more slowly. Choose nutritionally beneficial food instead of the sugary and fattening stuff. Remember your body’s needs and respect them.
Good luck and stress less!