Posted on November 03, 2020 by Josh Puttock

‘I am always stressed’

I don’t know about you but I find myself saying this more and more at the moment, but worse still I sometimes just accept this as the norm!

It shouldn’t be the norm, however, it is okay to feel stressed sometimes. Let me explain…

Stress and anxiety

Stress and anxiety feelings are normal emotions. They are there to regulate the hormones, adrenaline and chemical levels that help us with basic survival. They stimulate the fight or flight reactions within us and when we feel stressed our body is simply trying to protect us.

That being said, feeling stressed doesn’t always feel great and too much stress can have detrimental factors on our overall health and wellbeing. There certainly are tools we can use to help us to cope better, especially in times when we feel overwhelmed. I hope that this blog can give you a couple of tips to help.

‘We all know what it’s like to feel stressed, but it’s not easy to pin down exactly what stress means. When we say things like “this is stressful” or “I’m stressed”, we might be talking about:

  • Situations or events that put pressure on us – for example, times where we have lots to do and think about, or don’t have much control over what happens.
  • Our reaction to being placed under pressure – the feelings we get when we have demands placed on us that we find difficult to cope with.

mind.org.uk

In this current climate and with the general pressures of life the feeling of stress have definitely increased. Stress feels different for each person and can include physical and emotional symptoms.

Physical symptoms

Physical Symptoms may include headaches, muscular aches, upset stomach, nausea, insomnia, increase or decrease in appetite, increase in heart rate, lack of energy, increase in colds and other infections.

Emotional symptoms

Emotional Symptoms may include having a short temper, increased irritability, worrying or racing thoughts, feeling ungrounded, low moods/depression, sleeping too much or not sleeping enough, lack of concentration and bad decision making.

I know for me I feel like the weight of the world sits on my shoulders, I actually feel like they sit higher up towards my ears and no matter what I do they won’t relax. I also get headaches and lower back pain. What do you notice when you feel stressed?

So how can we help ourselves when we feel stressed?

One great way to relieve symptoms is to exercise!

Stress and Exercise =

  • ‘It pumps up your endorphins. Physical activity may help bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. …
  • It reduces negative effects of stress. …
  • It’s meditation in motion. …
  • It improves your mood.’

mayoclinic.org

In short, exercise makes us feel good because it affects all of those fight or flight stimulants mentioned earlier.

The exercise you choose is up to you. Every person likes something different. I love martial arts classes, I feel like I can really unleash the emotion I am holding onto! For a lot of people something with a big cardiovascular focus will help them, like spinning or going for a run. It might be putting on your headphones and lifting some weights or a nice dynamic yoga class. I guess the key thing is that the exercise choice is personal to you, but whatever you choose, exercise will help to improve your mood and relieve symptoms.

‘Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. Even five minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects.’Adaa.org

Meditation

Another big help is meditation. This is probably not the first place you have read this though? That is because it does work, but it is hard, and that is why we sometimes ‘put it off’.

Meditation can produce a deep state of relaxation and a tranquil mind. During meditation, you focus your attention and eliminate the stream of jumbled thoughts that may be crowding your mind and causing stress. This process may result in enhanced physical and emotional well-being.’ – mayoclinic.org

Meditation can mean different things to different people, you may view it as an hour of Yoga Nidra, sitting in lotus chanting ‘Aum’ or the 5 minutes at the end of a yoga class, but actually meditation should be seen as a moment for yourself. A time to pause and reset. A moment of silence.

That moment of silence is difficult as thoughts do not stop. So however you choose to meditate, allow the thoughts to enter your mind and then allow them to leave. Eventually the mind will pause, even if it is just for one moment.

It may sound strange but I always meditate for a couple of minutes in my car when I arrive home at the end of the day. I switch off the radio and sit in silence. Sometimes I allow my mind to look at the trees, the sky, the world around me and then I just allow the silence to fill my mind. I appreciate that this is not an obvious place to meditate but it works for me because I know nobody can disturb me there.

Breathwork

Finally, breathwork and just taking a step away and a few breaths in general can help to reverse the build-up of stress in everyday life.

Breathwork is ANY breathing technique designed to alter an individual’s consciousness. It doesn’t need to be a fancy breathing technique, it just needs to be meaningful and felt.

Breathing helps us to understand moments in time. It allows an opportunity to stop, reassess and reset.

When you next feel overwhelmed, just step away from the situation, stop, take 5 big breaths feeling and appreciating it as it fills your lungs and see how you feel as a result.

‘Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure’

– Oprah Winfrey

Whatever life throws at you, remember you have got this and every event can be learned from and help you to grow.

Written by: Lauren Alford

About the author: Lauren is an Area Gym & Spa Manager for motive8, personal trainer, yoga teacher and holistic therapist who specialises in chakra and aura healing.

Useful links:

https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/stress/?WT.tsrc=Search&WT.mc_id=Stress&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIncbA-v3R7AIVGkqGCh0EkQTFEAAYAiAAEgKUPPD_BwE

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/stress/what-is-stress/

https://adaa.org/tips