Make Stress Work FOR You (Not Against You)

Hi guys! Another week has flown by and it is officially Springtime here (we have missed it haha). Denmark in the Spring is my favorite so far- there are these beautiful purple, yellow and white flowers that have popped up in the grass everywhere you look, the sun is out for SO much longer now and the weather has been perfect (you only need a light jacket 😉 ).

Today I wanted to talk about stress. Stress and anxiety have been apart of my life for as long as I remember; I am really trying to tackle it to not let it control me or my life. I definitely do not want to live my life that way! I don’t think I’m alone in this endeavor either, I know lots of people that suffer from stress (a little bit of stress is completely normal) and a few people that suffer from anxiety (which is more extreme and not healthy for you).


First things first, let’s go through and talk about what stress actually is and stress versus a stressor.

Stress: the response of the body when homeostasis (when your body is in a stable or in other words balanced). Stress is how our bodies respond to stressors. Stressor: the event that disrupts homeostasis and causes the body to stress out.

Stress in and of itself doesn’t always have to be a negative thing. If we never experienced stressors or felt stressed then we would never progress or change. It is good to challenge ourselves! I mean, there’s no argument about whether it’s good or not to work towards our goals and actually accomplish difficult things. If you view these challenges as positive, you are experiencing eustress. It is absolutely possible to have stressors and feel stress in your life without feeling bad or getting any of the negative effects of stress (I mean it would be hard to only ever feel positive about things but its definitely a possibility).

 

For the most part though, when people hear the word stress, they associate it negatively. It is pretty typical for most people to feel upset or distressed when things arise in life. Now this is the bad stress- the type of stress that can have powerful negative effects on your life. This is the type of stress that I want to work to decrease and/or eliminate from my life because when I start to feel distress it can escalate into anxiety and I actually feel sick and I am in physical pain when I get to this point.

 

Stress was originally called the ‘fight or flight’ response because feeling stress has a lot to do with your nervous system. Here are some of the things that can physically happen to you when you feel stressed:

  • blood flow is diverted away from the gastrointestinal tract and is sent to the lungs and skeletal muscles
  • heart rate increases
  • pupils dilate (which allows for light to enter your eye)

Your body’s nervous system and endocrine system work hand in hand together to deal with stressors that you encounter. The endocrine system releases hormones and endorphins (like adrenaline and cortisol) to stimulate the brain.

Even after all those things that happen to almost everyone when they feel stressed, we all deal with stress in a different way. I think its worth the time to sit down and actually think about the way that you personally deal with stress. Do you deal with it emotionally, physically or mentally? I definitely feel it physically the worst. Once you can start to identify the symptoms of stress, you can start to determine how to prevent those negative responses.

There is a lot more that we could talk about in terms of stress (we just scraped the surface), but the most important thing that I want you to draw from this post is that we need to learn to deal with feelings of distress in our lives and remember that stress (like eustress) is actually necessary for us to progress in life and accomplish things, sometimes it takes courage because life can be hard!

Here are some things that have started to help me and are worth a try to start eliminating distress:

  • exercise (I love to dance and sweat it out)
  • talk a relaxing bath or hot shower
  • sit down and practice deep breathing (inhale for 4 seconds, hold breath for 7 seconds and exhale for 8 seconds, repeat this 4 times)
  • diffuse your favorite essential oil or add a few drops to your hands and inhale deeply (our olfactory bulbs/sense of smell have a powerful affect of our mood)
  • take a nap (sometimes I think I am more prone to feel distressed when I am lacking sleep)
  • keeping things in perspective and prioritizing (I LOVE making lists and actually think about what specifically is making me feel stressed and working through it on paper)
  • stretching (don’t underestimate this, can seriously work wonders)

I would love to hear about ways that you reduce stress in your life, I’m always looking to try different things to see if they work! Thank you so much for reading my blog, I really appreciate the love and support. I hope that you all have a great day and rest of the week 🙂

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