During the Holiday Season we get all kinds of presents, desirable ones such as family visits and not so desirable ones such as overwhelming stress.
But what is stress? No, Really.
In order to manage your stress effectively you must:
-Recognize your type of stress.
-Identify your own stressor(s).
-Understand how stress manifests physically, emotionally and mentally.
-Learn how stress affects our well-being.
To better understand stress and how it impacts your life, you must start by recognizing the type of stress you may be experiencing: Eurostress, acute stress, episodic stress, or chronic stress.
This is the only type of stress that it’s actually positive and healthy for you. When we are in a state of eurostress, our body releases “feeling good hormones” such as Dopamine, Endorphins and Oxytocin while we accomplish a pleasant task. An example of eurostress can be your child’s recital or your niece’s wedding; you are under stress but the stress is actually positive and it gives you a sense of happiness, laughter, and comfort. We are the most creative and productive when we are under eurostress. Keep in mind that having a sense of constant over joy and excitement is also tiring, don’t forget to give yourself some resting time regardless.
Most common symptoms of eustress
-Emotional eustress: Happiness, joy, contentment, satisfaction.
-Physical manifestations: High energy levels, improved endurance, good sleeping patterns and digestion.
-Mental symptoms: Prolonged attention and concentration, higher levels of productivity, creativity.
Of all forms of distress (bad stress), acute stress is the most widely experienced by people. It is typically caused by daily demands and the desire of “doing it all”. In a way, this type of stress is considered a “semi-positive” stress because it does bring partial joy and thrill to our lives. For instance, a fast bike down a challenging slope may be amazing the first few times, but it will eventually be exhausting and taxing on your body. The take home massage here is that chronic stress is good for a very short period of time, too much of it eventually leads to the symptoms below.
Most common symptoms of acute stress
-Emotional distress: Anger, anxiety, irritability and depression.
-Physical manifestations: Headache, shoulder pain, constipation/diarrhea, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and constant sweat.
Acute stress that happens frequently is called episodic stress. This type of stress is experienced by people that impose unrealistic demands on themselves and find themselves under pressure trying to accomplish their long list of goals. The good news is that episodic stress is not chronic, it usually stops when the goals have been accomplished or when the to-do-list is finished.
Episodic stress is very common in people with “Type A” personality. Have you ever met an overly competitive, direct, to the point, task oriented person? That’s a “Type A”. Because of their needs to accomplish tasks in an aggressive manner, they become victims of episodic stress on a daily basis.
Most common symptoms of episodic stress
-Emotional distress: Longer periods of intermittent depression, anxiety disorders, panic attacks, constant worrying.
-Physical manifestations: Headache, shoulder pain, constipation/diarrhea, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and constant sweat and potential heart problems.
Chronic stress is the total opposite of acute stress; it’s not exciting nor thrilling, but actually dangerous and very unhealthy. Chronic stress is the one that is experienced by those living unhappy lives due to an overly demanding job, unsuccessful career, debt, poverty, or a bad marriage.
This type of stress is considered the worst type of stress as it presents with long term stressors that have no end. Chronic stress accumulates, piles up, multiplies itself and attacks quickly. Experiencing this type of stress can be life-threatening and lead a person to seek for medical advice. This is a very serious form of stress has the potential to destroy anyone’s well-being.
Most common symptoms of chronic stress
-Emotional distress: Chronic depression, sense of worthlessness, dissatisfaction, isolation, carelessness.
-Physical manifestations: Migraines, muscle tension, shortness of breath, frequent urination, and stomach ulcers. This type of stress can also lead to other illnesses such a stroke, heart attack, and blood pressure issues.
-Mental symptoms: Constant irritability, tension, insomnia, poor concentration, exhaustion.
I hope you figured out what kind of stress you are experiencing. Do know that stress and happiness are inexplicably connected with our health and well-being. Follow the tips below to let go of some of the bad stress and become a happier and healthier you!
Whatever is happening in your life right now it’s exactly what needs to be happening. Whether you lost someone or your work deadline is approaching, try focusing on all the goodness around you: family, friends, food, sunshine… I like telling myself that stress is like letting someone live “rent-free” inside your mind. Isn’t that the truth?!
SPEND TIME OUTSIDE EVERY-SINGLE-DAY
Enjoy the fresh air and smell the roses as you connect with nature. This is key to any person’s health and happiness. A deficiency in Vitamin D for lack of sun exposure can lead to depression and other health issues. Go outside as often as you can!
CALL AN OLD FRIEND
There’s nothing that takes stress away more easily than laughing with a friend about the good old times. Also genuinely caring about how your friend’s life is going will give you a new perspective on life. Feed your beautiful soul with some friend time.
Do I need to emphasize that? I don’t think so right? As a Yoga teacher and Yoga practitioner, I can write and write and write about the benefits of Yoga. Just to mention a few of them… Yoga helps you focus, it lowers your blood pressure, it enhances your flexibility and strength, it helps you sleep deeper, it boosts your immune system… Do your yoga!
How good do you feel when someone gives you a compliment? Well other people feel that good too! Give people compliments, you’ll be happier when you notice you make other people happy.
INDULGE A LITTLE
We are constantly on the go. From the time we wake up until the time we go to bed, we are a non-stop thinking machine. It’s important to pause and do something we enjoy even if that something is as simple as eating a piece of dark chocolate or flipping though a decoration magazine.
Life is too short, love it and live it as best as you can!
Yours in Health