Right now, stress is inevitable. Faced with uncertainties, doubts, and insecurities, our perspective of the current situation can hold us in a perpetual state of ‘fight, or flight’.
When stress is chronic, your body can tip out of balance resulting in a number of various physical or psychological health consequences, from weight gain (particularly around the waist), sleep issues, depressive moods to exhaustion and fatigue. In fact, 75 to 90% of doctor’s visits are stress-related.
Personally, the stress I experienced when I transitioned from serving in the military to a stay-at-home mom, along with other unhealthy lifestyle behaviors, impacted my body’s ability to process insulin optimally. Unexpectedly, I found out that 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 whether it’s a relaxation technique or physical activity or talking with someone.
What I’m introducing is a mindset strategy where the stress itself isn’t necessarily the problem, but how you respond to it. Remember, you always have a choice to positively react as a healthy way to relieve stress.
Consider these “4 A’s” developed by the Mayo Clinic:
Avoid, Alter, Adapt, Accept
What’s unnecessary stress in your life today? Have you been constantly watching the news? Is it possible to avoid people who gives 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. 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 can put yourself in the perspective of the other person. This is where NVC comes in. You make an observation (instead of being judgmental with an evaluation) where you try to identify what the other person may be needing based on their emotions. When you show compassion and understanding, it can evoke a positive response from another.
How would you reframe a stressful situation right now that can help you move forward? When you can’t change the stressor, changing your expectations about it may make a difference.
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.
Which of these 4 A’s can you use to 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 – firstname.lastname@example.org or quickly fill out a Healthy Lifestyle Discovery form and we can set up a time to chat.