If you have been following along with our mini stress series, welcome back. For those of you who have not been following along, you can start pretty much anywhere. But, we will encourage you to start from the beginning.
So, when you think about stress, it is hard to see stress happening to younger people. In younger people, I am talking about those toddlers and high schoolers. Now, I know there is stress in EVERYONE. Yes. Stress is given to you from feelings like anger, frustration, nervous, and even happiness or over-excitement, and this stress can cause the body to become tense or bouts of emotional response may occur.
During the process of stress in young people, it's often not thought of as "stress." Why? Well, we see things that may cause kids to stress out, but the stress quickly disappears. Think of it like this. When girls get mad at their close friends, then they make up the next day at school. Or, the same for guys (which guys tend to make up much quicker than girls). Younger children that stress may be from at home relationships (sibling rivalry, or being upset at mom and dad), again, this is typically turned around quickly. So, we considered this to be, "quick stress" or "short stress." Either way, you must ask yourself, "is stress good for the body?"
Research has mentioned that some stress is okay for the body. This stress may cue us that we need to study for that upcoming exam instead of procrastinate it (so we can graduate), or pay that bill instead of not (so you don't fall behind-which can cause serious stress). These stressors can focus your attention on completing specific tasks that can help you dodge the bigger bullet of "Serious Stress."
Even things that you think might be relaxing you can cause stress. Even if it is short lived. Which gets me to my next point:
Short lived stress is much better than long lived or stress that is not dealt with. BUT, this does not indicate that short stress can't cause serious health risks. Typically, short lived stress is what we consider among your people. Those who are nervous about an exam or upset at a friend or the sibling rivalry normally endure short bouts of stress that can be gone in less than a day. Although adults can endure short amounts of stress, stress can cause people of older age serious health complications like a heart attack or stroke. And for those who are younger that have random bouts of short lived stress can cause serious inflammation in the body.
Going backwards here- remember that stress sends signals to the body "fight or flight" response that causes inflammation throughout the body. A host of cells are immediately sent out to the injured sites in the body (inflammation) to fight it off (think of it like an Army of Troops). Inflammation is not good for the body.
"Hmmmm, so you're saying that when I stress out, I cause inflammation to occur, which causes a war in my body?"
Short answer: YES!
Many studies have mentioned that although short amounts of stress that are quickly handled are not so bad for the body, it is the recurring stressors that pose the largest threat to the human body. That stress that doesn't necessarily go away overnight. Serious relationship problems, financial struggles, long lasting family problems, and work problems- all in which cause a serious mental imbalance, that causes stress to occur. Not the same as physical stress that impacts the body.
Common situations that might cause stress are things like social media anxiety, family and other relationship issues that are unresolved and continue for months at a time, performance issues like trying to impress or seek approval from others, and more. But the truth is, we ALL endure stress.
From day 1, we are asked to perform, learn, speak, and repeat. We are put through school to learn and stay up to speed with what is being taught (even if it is too much to soon), afterall, we are all striving for the same thing: To be successful. No one wants to fail at life, or in it! As children, we get yelled at if we do something wrong, and it doesn't go away, it just keeps happening everyday! As we grow up, we endure bullies in school, girls that are jealous and mean, or guys that want to take you out, everyday (and I don't mean to dine out). Then, we go through relationships that take our hearts away and leave us on the curb, rung out and totally pathetic. Heart gone. And then, we get that perfect job we worked so hard for, but then we are let go. We buy a house, have kids, get married, and in-between all of this, we endure stress from every angle in life: You are denied a loan, or you can't afford your bills, or your car breaks down, or.... Do you get it yet?
How do you handle your stress? Do you actually care about your stress? And, when do you know that your stress needs to be managed, quickly? Are you aware of what stress can do to your body, or are you in denial?
Maybe, journaling is the way to go. For some, this method works wonders. Here's why.
When you are able to get things off of your mind, you begin to replay the situation. Sure, that might seem like it would bring more stress to mind, but before you go there, let me finish. When you right down what is stressing you out, then you can start creating resolutions that will fix the problem. Altogether, during this process, you MUST stay on top of yourself in order to reduce the stress. The problem begins, when people don't hold themselves accountable, thus causing the stress to continue occuring.
Maybe grabbing a small glass of wine (every so often) will help you relax after a long "stressful" day. Here is the trick, only a small amount, and reduce the amount of sugar in your wine selection. The same goes for other drinks that you might choose to intake.
Sugar causes a lot of problems in the body, and like stress can cause dehydration and inflammation, which can induce or heighten stress. And, if you can't just have a small amount and 1 serving, then do not go to alcohol to relax you. This is more of a treat, and not the healthiest of options to reduce stress. The problem lies in that alcohol can be a depressant, and if it does reduce navigating your negative thoughts away from stressing out, you are more likely to continue drinking every time you are stressed out. Therefore, it is not recommended to drink if you are stressed. Occasionally is fine. Everyday, is not.
To tie everything together, an important thing to ponder on is understanding how to respond to stress and how to recognize when you are stressed out. Both of these are not easy tasks, and do require time to work on. We are designing classes that focus on stress reduction, specifically in active individuals like fitness goers and athletes, but can be implemented among all people. Our goal is to provide efficient content that can navigate you ALL in the healthiest direction in life, by reducing stressors that negatively impact your life and recognizing when new stress appears. Want more information about this, join our subscription and we will be sending out emails to those in our family of upcoming classes here in the Fall and Winter. And, we will be back next week to continue our Mini Stress Series!
Have a stress-free week friends!
Cheryl McCormick, M.S.S.