Let’s face it, stress is inevitable! Bombarded with uncertainties, doubts, and insecurities, our perspective of current events can trap us in a perpetual state of ‘fight or flight.’
When you’re consistently stressed out, your body can tip out of balance, resulting in various physical or psychological health consequences, from weight gain (particularly around the waist), sleep issues, and depressive moods to exhaustion and fatigue. In fact, 75 to 90% of doctor’s visits are stress-related.
The stress I experienced when transitioning from serving in the military to a stay-at-home mom, coupled with other unhealthy lifestyle behaviors, impacted my body’s ability to process insulin optimally. Surprisingly, I found out my blood glucose levels were nearing pre-diabetic. One research revealed that perceived stress is a strong risk factor for type 2 diabetes in women.
You know what’s fascinating? It’s your body’s innate ability to heal when you make conscious, healthy choices. With stress, there are various practices you can implement into your day. I’m introducing you to a mindset strategy where the stressor isn’t necessarily the problem but your response to it. Remember, you have a choice in how you respond to stressful situations.
Consider these “4 A’s” developed by the Mayo Clinic:
Avoid, Alter, Adapt, Accept
What unnecessary stress is in your life today? Have you been constantly watching the news? Is it possible to avoid people who give you a hard time? How about only committing to tasks that are most important to you instead of having a long list of things to do?
Asking these questions will help you identify sources of stress that you can try to avoid. For example, one thing I’ve learned to do is to avoid tuning in to the news first thing in the morning.
There will be moments when it might be hard to avoid specific situations. One communication technique I’ve learned that may alter a stressful situation, perhaps with a friend or a family member, is the Non-Violent Communication (NVC) model by Marshall Rosenberg.
When you’re in a disagreement with someone, it helps if you put yourself in the other person’s perspective. This is where NVC comes in. You make an observation (instead of being judgmental) where you try to identify what the other person may be seeking. It’s when you show compassion and understanding that evokes a positive response from another.
How would you reframe a stressful situation that can help you move forward? Adjusting your expectations about it may make a difference when you can’t change the stressor.
I like this quote by Albus Dumbledore from Harry Potter –
“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”
What’s the one thing that can bring light into the darkness you’re currently in? For me, it’s my faith. This bible study hosted by my community church has been helpful through this pandemic.
Inevitably, we all encounter stressful situations out of our control. And the best thing we can do at the moment is to learn to accept them.
Acknowledge your emotions, talk it out with a friend, and practice self-compassion. The serenity prayer speaks to me about acceptance.
What would help relieve your stress today?
Would you like to have a conversation to relieve the stress that has negatively impacted your health and wellbeing? Please reach out to me via email – email@example.com or quickly fill out a Healthy Lifestyle Discovery form and we can set up a time to chat.