Effective Immediately: I’m cancelling my subscription to your issues.
Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could simply cancel out the stressful interactions we have with certain people and situations by quite frankly deciding that we are done even being aware of them?
If we could just make the request not to have them show up to our door on a regular basis?
Nothing personal, of course, we just don’t have time to flip through banal pages of your issues that keep coming up over and over again. And we simply do not have the time to sit on the couch on a rainy Sunday and re-visit your back issues from the past.
Sorry, not sorry.
By cancelling my subscription to your issues I am declaring I am ready to move past the past and get on with things that are important to ME.
Like my health, and my family, and my work in the world.
When people come to me asking why they’re not seeing results with their workouts, or why no matter how much they work out and eat right they can’t seem to lose the stubborn belly fat, I always ask them “how is your stress?”
Stress is one of the most debilitating, draining, and havoc wreaking forces on our overall health, energy, and ability to thrive.
You’re probably familiar with some of the most stressful events in life, like divorce (any painful breakup), death in the family, moving, major illness (taking care of someone with major illness), and losing your job.
But there is also the more subtle, ongoing stress so many of us live with day to day with no respite: of trying to get everything done in a day, financial pressure, the pressure at work to finish by the deadline, the pressure we put on ourselves to look a certain way, the emotional distress we feel in an unhappy relationship, or from past events that we haven’t been able to resolve.
Here’s a quick reminder on How the Fight or Flight/Stress Response Affects You:
Our brains, while highly evolved, still respond to the fear mechanism that’s wired into us for survival(1.) When we’re triggered by a stressful event, a signal is sent to the hypothalamus – the command center in our brain that regulates our sympathetic and parasympathetic response systems.
The sympathetic response system is like the gas pedal in a car: it triggers the fight or flight response, providing your body with a burst of energy so it can respond to danger. The parasympathetic nervous system is like the brakes: it promotes a “rest and digest” response that calms the body.
So something stressful happens. Your hypothalamus tells your sympathetic nervous system to get to work. Your adrenals release epinephrine (AKA adrenaline) into your bloodstream, which causes the heart to beat faster, pushing blood to vital organs like the heart. Breathing speeds up, extra oxygen is sent to the brain; sight and hearing sharpen.
Blood sugar and fats are released from temporary storage sites around the body – flooding into the bloodstream to supply your system with energy in case it needs to fight or to run away from danger.
After that first surge of adrenaline subsides, the hypothalamus initiates the second level of the stress response system, the HPA axis, which involves the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland and the adrenal glands. Together, they trigger the release of cortisol, which keeps the “gas pedal” pressed down and the sympathetic nervous system to stay activated.
When you press the gas pedal down in a car and keep it pressed down, the engine runs at high RPM’s. Chronic stress is like that for your body – if you don’t have a way to trigger the parasympathetic system and put on the brakes, chronic stress just keeps that HPA axis active and the engine in overdrive – contributing to many health problems.
Ongoing adrenaline running through your body can increase blood pressure, and cause damage to the blood vessels and arteries which raises the risk of heart attacks and stroke.
And elevated cortisol levels help replenish the body’s energy stores that are depleted during the stress response, but inadvertently contribute to the buildup of fat tissue and weight gain.
This is why we need tools to help us handle and mitigate our stress, so we don’t age before our time, get sick more than we should, feel terrible and anxious all the time, and pack on the pounds that come from chronically elevated stress hormones running rampant in our bloodstream.
So, instead of continuing to beat the drum of the old stories and the dysfunctional relationship, here are 3 simple things you can do RIGHT NOW to reduce your stress and refocus on the present:
- List 10 things you are grateful for. When you are feeling gratitude it is impossible to feel negative emotions at the same time.
- Meditate. And when I say meditate, I simply mean sit still and breathe for a few minutes. Close your eyes, focus on your breath, take a few deep slow inhales and exhales. Be aware of your heart rate. In other words, just bring your awareness back to your body and allow yourself a moment to relax.
- Exercise. OK, so you can’t quite get yourself to sit still? Well then go run around! Exercise is one of the best stress releases EVER. And, like meditating, it’s FREE and always available to you. Even a 15 minute burst of energy will do wonders for your mood.
I hope reading this has encouraged you to take some kind of positive action in your life. Just the act of writing it has been a positive experience for me!
So thanks for reading, and as always, drop me a line and say hello anytime!
Love and Light,
Reference article for you research geeks:
(1) Kozlowska, K., Walker, P., McLean, L. & Carrive, P. “Fear and the Defense Cascade: Clinical Implications and Management.” Harvard Review of Psychiatry. 2015. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4495877/