STRESS – Is It an Emotion or a Feeling?

Do you race during your whole day desperately trying to get to the end to finish completely exhausted and tired?

Do you have an obstinate weight that you can’t change in spite of your diet and exercise?

Do you feel ejected and feel like you’re taking a personal hit when a stressful situation in your life arises or someone is difficult for you?

men stress

If the answer is yes to the above, then you are probably feeling a bit stressed. But don’t worry, you are definitely not alone…. Let’s explore if it is an emotion or a feeling and what’s the difference?

The effects of stress can be emotional, psychological, and physical with some people expressing more physical signs, like fatigue or high blood pressure, and others expressing more emotion or psychological signs, like irritability or depression and both ultimately affect your well-being.

So How Does Stress Impact your Health?

There is one key body system that is prevalent in how stressed out, wired and tired you can get and that is your Autonomic Nervous System (ANS). Your ANS consists of your parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) and Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS). Your SNS is your “flight or fight” response, while your PNS is your “digest, repair, and rest ” response. Stress can be physical, mental or emotional, and the system that is affected the most by any type of stress is your Sympathetic Nervous System (fight or flight response).

When you are physically stressed, your sympathetic nervous system raises your heart rate, increases your respiratory rate, releases cortisol (long term stress-coping hormone), adrenalin (store term stress coping hormone) and directs blood away from your digestive tract so your body is ultimately unable to digest, rest or repair itself.

When adrenaline is pumped through your system after your body detects the danger, blood sugar is poured so that your body can use it to get it out of the situation (such as preparing you to run or flee) and insulin (primary fat storage hormone) is then released into your blood stream to deal with the blood sugar spike. Although, in today’s world, the danger is perceived and you are often sitting at your desk or on the couch! Therefore, this excess insulin pumping through your blood stores as fat and when your blood sugar spikes, has to come down.

That massive drop can leave you feeling completely exhausted which can have you searching for more sugar or caffeine to pick you up again! It is a vicious cycle and long term, this vicious cycle can lead to many health problems such as; a slow metabolism, fat storage in your cells, blood glucose problems (diabetes), chronic low-level inflammation and not to mention long term fatigue and much more…

Diet (caffeine, sugar, white processed carbs and alcohol) plays a huge role in the activation of your sympathetic nervous system, but your emotional patterns, your choices and attitude also contribute to the highest level. Here are a few suggestions to try, so you can start slowing down, relax into your day and ultimately – stress less!

Eliminate or cut down on your caffeine, sugar, alcohol and white processed carbohydrates. This can give you a sense of “false, short-term energy” while depleting your natural energy levels and causing stress to your body.

Ditch seeking approval and acceptance from others and learn to love and accept yourself! This starts with putting yourself first, unapologetically! If you are not healthy or happy, it is very hard to give your full energy to others in your life. Learn to say “NO” and stop people pleasing!

It is in a woman’s DNA to nurture but like the flight attendants say when going through the emergency drill on an aircraft… ‘Should oxygen masks be required, fit yourself with the oxygen mask first so that you can then take care of others’… This is a good analogy reminding us to look after ourselves first so that we can be our best selves to look after others.

Take breaks during your day to sit in stillness. Siting in stillness and being alone with your thoughts gives you space to process situations and release the chaos. A great way to do this is through meditation or some deep belly breathing.

Exercise: Sit with your eyes closed in a comfortable position, place your hand on your belly and slowly breathe in through your nose expanding your belly to the count of 3. Then breathe out through your nose to the count of 4 deflating your belly.

Get a good night’s sleep. Most importantly get to bed before 10 pm.

Keep a gratitude journal. This can remind you of all the good things you have in your life.

Change your thoughts and you will change your life! We all have choices. Stress is perception, and it is up to us to determine how we perceive a situation. Take a minute to think of what is really important to you in life – it can help you gain some perspective on the situation. You might even recognise that by releasing your attachment to expected outcomes by adopting a different attitude that the journey and process of life is made just that much easier – and your health will also seem to benefit.