Modern life creates a lot of stress and very few of us escape completely. Most of us cope with low level stress for decades, and we learn to adjust and cope.
About 6 months ago I began to experience higher levels of on-going stress when my teenage daughter started having seizures at night.
So I have recently experienced first-hand the impact stress has had on my health-levels, body and emotions.
At the time of writing this article, I am not out of the woods yet with my stress, but there are signs of light at the end of the tunnel. So today while it is so fresh I want to talk about why it’s not just stress.
Impossible to compare stress
Stress comes in all shapes and sizes. It is impossible to judge stress just on the external facts.
There are so many contributing unique factors that it really is impossible to compare when it comes to stress.
I notice that many people are ashamed of stress or even feel like it is just an excuse when there is no proper diagnosis, and feel they are not being taken seriously.
But if life is making you;
Lie awake at night worrying, mind goes round and round
Craving alcohol, sugar and caffeine,
Lose your appetite
Causing tension headaches or other pain,
Disrupting your Digestion,
Developing Skin, or Hair issues
Changing your blood pressure
Changing your mood
Making you feel wired but tired
Lost your focus, concentration and memory
Tired all the time
Menstrual cycle changes
Constant viral infections and bugs (low immunity)
Then you are very likely in stress response.
Most of us know when we are facing high stress, what we fail to realise is that many months after an stressful event we can still be in a stress response cycle.
Sometimes years of constant little stressful events can make us crash at the next one.
This is why it pays to support the little stresses, because like a snow ball they can roll into a big one.
How the body views your stress
Your body is designed to respond to stress with the well-known, freeze, flight or fight response. It shuts down all non-essential functions and diverts all power to enable you to respond to the immediate stress.
Your body provides you with a high level of energy ready to be used to get you out of the stressful situation.
Your body assumes that after your fight or flight you will rest and sleep. This is when all repairs takes place and all the normal body functions get switched back on.
The flaws in the system
But there are some flaws with this system as it copes with modern life.
Modern stress does not involve running 4 miles for your life or going several rounds in a physical fight instead you sit there with all that energy coursing through your body. If nothing else this makes the sleep and repair impossible.
Your body can’t tell the difference between an in-the-moment real stress event and the mind/brain/emotions getting stressed. So when we re-live a stressful event in our mind the body responds.
Certain substances such as caffeine and sugar can put the body into an instant chemical stress response.
The modern stress cycle
When we have had several stressful events /days the body is desperate for us to rest and repair.
So it sends the signal of fatigue to let you know you need to stop for essential repairs.
Guess what we do?
Yep. We seek out caffeine or sugar or ‘push-on’ through the fatigue. We might even put ourselves back into stress response through talking and re-living the event to give ourselves a stress high.
Of course when it comes time to sleep we can’t. Either through un-burned stress energy or a sugar/caffeine buzz.
By the way we shouldn’t really be able to sleep after umpteen cups of coffee, a healthy body will respond to caffeine with a burst of energy.
Wired but tired
I’m sure you have experienced this feeling when part of you is so tired but you just can’t relax, switch off or sleep.
Some people (unconsciously) turn to smoking and alcohol to help relax them at the end of the day, but long-term these methods cause further issues.
Short-term stress is normal. Long-term stress needs support because after a while those repairs that get switched off become essential to our health.
If you do one thing
I suggest sleep as the top priority. Sometimes we have to get up every day and face stress. But if you have slept at night then repairs are taking place within your body.
There are plenty of natural techniques to help you sleep; in clinic I think I have over 50 different tips. With an assessment I can pinpoint what you personally need.
If like me it is night-time that the stress takes place this is a more complex situation. But there are still a few natural solutions to reduce stress and switch those repair systems back on.
It’s not just stress
Stress is a modern epidemic. It creeps up on us and can rob us of joy and health. Don’t ignore it, don’t feel ashamed.
Take action and prevent stress damage from causing future health issues.
You can’t always take the stressful situation away, but you can always support your health through stressful times.
Learn how you and your individual body can reduce, recover and repair from stress naturally.