Our bodies speak to us all the time. They can withstand a great deal of pain, heal themselves and even produce millions of new cells each day. When you’re getting stressed out, your body can detect it — and that applies to about 80 percent of Americans who live with some level of stress. Sound familiar?
Stress manifests itself physically and emotionally and takes a toll in many ways. Here are a few ways our bodies tell us when we’re stressed and some easy ways to cope.
DIGESTIVE SYSTEM DISTRESS
Your belly may be one of the first places to experience symptoms of stress or anxiety. Our brain has a direct line to our stomach and intestines. This brain-to-stomach connection is a two-way street that causes a viscous cycle of stress-related effects. Stress can increase stomach acids, causing an ulcer, bloating or nausea. Try to eat clean, including lots of fruits and vegetables, and portion your carbohydrates and proteins.
The thirst is real if you are feeling stressed. Stop and drink water. Serious dehydration can cause an increase in the stress hormone cortisol, so stay hydrated to keep your stress levels down.
Stress can wreak havoc on your sleep schedule, which can carry over into your day and lead to more poor sleep at night. This cycle is harmful emotionally and physically because your body doesn’t have the time it needs to rest and recover. Your body can’t quiet down, so neither can your mind.
Try to keep your room dark and quiet. Some people find machines that simulate wave, bird or waterfall sounds soothing, and lavender oil also is wonderful for relaxation.
If you are not enjoying what you usually love to do, this is one of the biggest symptoms of stress. Dreading your favorite activities — for me, working out and spending time with friends — that is a sign; listen to it. As we continue to push ourselves and experience high-stress situations, the body releases hormones that can inhibit your ability to experience joy in your daily activities.
Remember to breathe. Find a quiet spot and mediate. Calm is a great app that can help you manage anxiety, mediate, sleep better and more.
When you feel the stress escalating, try the S.T.O.P. technique: Stop, Take a breath, Observe what is within and Proceed slowly. This should de-escalate your stress.
Here’s to slowing down this spring, truly taking time to breathe and making the rest of 2020 happy, healthy and stress free!
Brandt is an executive host with Scarlett Pearl Casino Resort, as well as co-author of the Amazon best-seller “The Struggle is Real: Finally Break the Dieting Cycle, Transform Your Mind and Body, and Evolve into The Person You Have Always Wanted to Be” and the “30-Day Evolve Challenge Journal.” Contact Brandt by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, Facebook/ The Struggle Is Real or Instagram at karolbrandtnola.