Different Kinds of Stress

We’ve all been affected by stress in some way. Some of us are more easily impacted. For example, getting a speeding ticket or running late for work occasionally might cause quite a bit of stress for some. Others go through life without stressing too much about small things. But we all get the hard stuff thrown at us at some point. That’s just how life is.

Police officer giving a driver a ticket

Chronic Stress

Chronic stress is stress that is consistent over a long period of time. It’s often the chronic type of stress that can be most harmful to us. An illness, a job loss or divorce are examples of life issues that can cause chronic stress. And this kind of stress can leave us exhausted—feeling distracted, unfocused and scattered. Our sleep is negatively affected, it’s hard to relax, and sometimes we eat and drink the wrong things that only add to our problems. (Below is a good guided meditation for sleep)

Couple facing each other with cat looking up sadly

Stress Causes Adverse Effects on the Brain and Our Health

Stress uses up resources of our brains and redirects them to more emotional and urgent “fight or flight” needs according to psychologist Linda Ercoli, PhD, UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. According to her, “Studies have shown the hippocampus to be smaller in people who have suffered from chronic stress.” Stress also has adverse effects on the prefrontal cortex of the brain. The prefrontal cortex is important for complex decision making and problem solving. The hippocampus is the part of the brain used for memory and learning.

Signs of Stress

Signs of stress that may creep up on us are:

  • Inability to relax
  • Headaches and muscle tension, especially neck and shoulders
  • Frequent sighing
  • Irritability, negative and pessimistic thinking, impatience
  • Indigestion, gas, nausea
  • Low energy and feeling tired, even when getting enough hours of sleep
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Feelings of distraction and inability to concentrate
  • Change in eating habits, overeating or loss of appetite
  • Drinking more alcohol than what is normal for you or just because you feel more stress
Woman on bed trying to rest

Ways to De-Stress

There are a number of ways we can de-stress. We can reduce and manage stress with:

  • Mindfulness meditation and Self Hypnosis. These techniques can help stop negative thinking patterns and reframe thoughts in the brain. Problems don’t feel as bleak and the brain can start working properly to solve issues in a more productive way.
  • Exercise. Even small amounts of exercise daily, like a short walk can help clear our mind, get us some fresh air and help clear our emotions.
  • Deep breathing exercises. Closing our eyes (safely) and taking several long, deep, belly breaths, exhaling slowly. Do several of these and then, stretch your neck gently and pull your shoulders down and out of your ears 😊
  • Listen to some nice, peaceful, instrumental music. This can be very soothing.
  • Spend some time outdoors in nature. Smelling the green grass, trees, flowers or the ocean, can be relaxing. The feeling of the breeze and/or sunlight on our faces helps promote calm and peacefulness.
  • Take a nice, long bubble bath. Use scents that are soothing and relaxing, like lavender, bergamot and chamomile.

I Can Help You!

Always remember, “This too, shall pass”.  Stress happens. But we CAN get through it! Contact me for a free 30 minute consultation so we can come up with a plan for you. Self Hypnosis is easy to learn.

What are some ideas you use to help alleviate stress in your life? Please mention in the comment section below 😊

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