April is Stress Awareness Month and I think we all know that stress never goes away – but that we can control how we react to stress by learning healthy coping mechanisms.
Stress is just a way of life and can be a positive thing to help us meet a deadline or to complete a task – chronic stress is another story.
Our body is meant to go through stress by utilizing the “fight or flight” response which can help us to get out of a dangerous situation or complete a task. The adrenaline starts pumping, the heart rate increases, our eyes dilate, our breathing increases to help with oxygen flow and we are ready to tackle the issue. A short-term bout of stress is okay – our bodies can handle it. When we’re in a chronic stress situation, we can experience emotional, physical, psychological, and behavioral issues.
Healthy coping mechanisms include regular exercise, meditation, yoga, breathing, journaling, talking to a friend/therapist, going for a walk, aromatherapy, drinking a cup of tea or really anything that helps you to get back to a relaxation state.
Unhealthy coping mechanisms include excessive drinking or too often, smoking, overspending, gambling, overeating, using drugs, or inflicting harm.
Becoming mindful of stressful situations and learning healthy coping mechanisms will help your health long-term.
Chronic stress can lead to emotional issues such as anxiety, depression, having panic attacks or sadness. Physical issues include aches/pains, headaches, chest pain, high blood pressure trouble sleeping, digestive issues and a weak immune system. If you feel like you can’t control your stress please seek your primary care physician for help or maybe try incorporating a healthy coping mechanism to see if that doesn’t relieve your symptoms first.
Your overall well-being depends on good nutrition, hydration, sleep, exercise, and stress management.
You have control over your stress but sometimes you may need help from a therapist or a friend to help you work through the more difficult situations. The good thing is, you can help yourself to get some relief by knowing when you are under stress and how to deal with it.
Mindset is key, don’t dwell on the negatives but rather focus on the positives and your achievements for the day. There is so much more to be grateful for than to worry about. Having an optimistic view can definitely make a difference.
Being a new mom and learning that I am capable of so much has made me learn that I am constantly on the go but I need to remember to take deep breaths throughout the day.
Wellness Challenge – Deep Belly Breathing
For 30-days, I would like you to set an alarm for every hour of the day. When the alarm goes off – take 10 deep belly breaths to release stress and tension. Pay attention to your body before and after. You should feel your body relax as you continue to breathe.
If every hour is not feasible, come up with a more realistic amount for you to be able to complete per day even if it’s just once. Something is ALWAYS better than nothing. Happy Breathing!
Want to learn more about Personal Training, Health Coaching, Nutrition Coaching, TEAM Training, or Senior Fitness/Senior Personal Training at Performance Health & Fitness? Sign up for a FREE 30-Minute Strategy Session with a certified personal trainer and we'll help you find the resources and information needed to reach your personal goals.