What is Stress?

Stress accumulates throughout the days and weeks like water pouring into a “cup”. If left unchecked, an overflowing cup will physiologically wreck havoc on your body, steal your patience, and push us towards coping mechanisms that probably aren’t aligned with our goals.

Stress is typically thought of in two categories: Physical or Emotional (mental) stress. Although everyone’s ability to handle both types of stress can be very different, our body’s response to each one is actually very similar. For most, the prevalent stresses in our daily grind tend to be those that are weigh on us mentally – deadlines, relationships, bills, etc…

Our subconscious has evolved to protect us when we sense danger through our Sympathetic Nervous System, or our “Flight or Fight” response. These emotional stresses (although not a physical threat) can still activate this system the same as if your life was in danger.

On the flip side, the system that regulates our bodies when we relax or sleep is called the Parasympathetic Nervous System, or our “Rest and Digest” response. This can be evoked through mindfulness (the ability to focus your attention singularly), breathing exercises, massage or anything that reduces the water building up in your “cup”. Since stress is also very subjective, finding the de-stressing approach best for you is probably going to take some practice.

Try to carve out 5-10 minutes in your day to truly disconnect (no distractions or phones) and see what peace there can be in stillness.

 

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