Stress is the body’s natural reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. The body reacts to these changes with physical, mental, and emotional responses. It is important to know that stress is a part of life. You can experience stress from your environment, your body, and your thoughts. Although you can’t avoid it, you can do things to modulate the effects of stress.
Stress should not be ignored. It can play a major part in problems such as headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis, depression, and anxiety. Your body’s natural response to stress is to increase your heart and breathing rates by releasing hormones (we’ll talk about this later), thus giving your brain more oxygen, so you can react faster and smarter to problems. You are better equipped to cope in tough situations.
What are some stressors? – Responsibilities at work and at home; negative life events like divorce or death of a loved one; physical illnesses; and disasters.
Did you know that exercise is a stress? Well it is. But exercise is a good stress because it is asking your body to respond to forces placed upon it, such as resistance (from weights) and fatigue (from endurance or cardio training).
So what we need to do now is zero our focus on outcomes. So let’s take a closer look at the effects of stress on the body. Stress has an immediate effect on your body. In the short term, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but chronic stress puts your health at risk.
Some responses to stress include but are not limited to:
- High blood pressure
- Erectile dysfunction
- Weight gain
- Heart attack
The central nervous system, endocrine (skin), digestive, musculoskeletal, reproductive/sexuality, and immune systems, all fall victim to depressed levels of efficiency secondary to stress. This is due to unnatural responses of hormones when other chemical mediators continue to stay elevated in the blood stream over time. This chronic response is called distress and it stunts the everyday maintenance reactions that our bodies must sustain to keep homeostasis (fancy way of saying – keeping the AC at 76 in the house).
So what can you do to turn the tide if you are suffering from distress? Here are three guaranteed ways to make your stress go away.
First of all, take a serious chill pill. Find something that mellows you out. Not drug induced chill modes, but secret place chill spots, like prayer rooms, spa hideaways, or man caves for movies (Men, not Women.”) And maybe you should look in the mirror and repeat after me: It’s not as bad as you think it is. You’re not as bad as you think you are. Honestly, if you begin to take yourself a little less seriously, things turn around immediately.
Second, find a stress relieving activity that does not hurt anyone – including yourself – but helps you and only you (maybe another person or two). How about an intimate moment with yours spouse (sex is the ultimate stress relieving activity – rated by 100% of married men). Or, how about joining a gym and getting on an exercise program that focuses on resistance training that floods the body with endorphins (the feel good chemical) that help to block out the stressful feelings.
Third – Remember your spiritual relationship. Seriously – you are first a spiritual being having a human experience. You are not the summation of life’s mishaps and troubles. Your natural self is responding to everything in the physical realm around you all at once and your soul is reflecting your emotional side, but your spirit is in constant communion with God. He has embedded within you the purpose and knowledge of the Holy one. Therefore, the challenging hills and mountains of life should be considered utter speed bumps to slow you down from attaining the victory that God has already set in motion for you. You need only to step out in faith, release the negative energy building up inside and walk out the path you are destined to live. The reassurance you need that everything will always be alright for those who are called according to purpose will be more than enough to carry you through any tough time.
So remember stress is only the outer resistance and it does not and cannot define you. It’s not what happens to you in life, but how you respond that does. YOU are in total control!