Life is amazing most of the time, but then something happens that throws you off track and everything comes crumbling down – and fast. How are you managing through these situations?
Do you stress out and worry until you come to a suitable solution? Panic and anxiety attacks are your new best friends? Do you have a method or technique to follow to keep your stress or worry in check and to help you come to a solution that actually benefits your life?
When we experience stress, the hormone called cortisol is released into the blood stream from the brain. Cortisol is the body’s primary stress hormone, and it plays a role in many bodily functions, including controlling blood sugar levels. The level of cortisol in the blood is usually higher in the morning and gradually decreases throughout the day.
Cortisol also plays a role in:
- regulating the body’s sleep-wake cycles
- managing how the body utilizes carbohydrates, fats, and proteins
- reducing inflammation
- controlling blood pressure
However too much cortisol can lead to symptoms including:
- High blood pressure
- impaired brain function
- muscle weakness
- infections or delayed recovery
- changes in mood, such as feeling irritable or low energy
- rapid weight gain in the face and abdomen
- decreased sex drive
While cortisol has positive effects on the body, there are far more negative effects that can cause long term damage. Stress comes in two packages, healthy and non-healthy. Stress helps us strive for better or to resolve unwanted circumstances, it pushes us forward. But when we experience long periods stress and nothing changes or progresses, that’s when it becomes dangerous.
For example, having a career where you experience high stress, deadlines and a micro-manager boss. Some people thrive on these high-pressured situations and others burn out. If you have managed through a burn out, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. These situations can be detrimental to our health in a big way! Some have been known to experience a ‘midlife crisis’ over a negative work environment. Living through abusive relationships, experiencing low self-esteem or single mothers raising teenagers are all life situations that cause high stress.
Let’s get into the good stuff, how can we help you ‘stress better’?
1. Boundaries and responsibilities
The first step is to figure out who’s responsibility the issue is, if its not your responsibility then you can’t change or improve on the actual issue because it doesn’t belong to you. All you can control is how you react or respond to the situation.
Think of it like this, the way you behave, speak, your attitude towards people and life, your life decisions, your expectations and personal faults are all your responsibility. These are things you can’t blame others for, they belong to you. Each person has these responsibilities and it’s their duty to take ownership of them.
Unfortunately, a large percentage of the world population have no idea that they have these responsibilities. Most people float through life unaware of this realisation.
When dealing with a stressful situation ask yourself ‘who’s responsibility is this?’ Which parts of this situation fall within my ‘bubble’ and which don’t? Once you have this information you can then either take action on your own responsibilities or set a boundary in place for other people. Stopping them from trying to get into your bubble.
2. Unpack and separate
Write down the issue that is causing you to stress or worry, on a piece of paper. Make two columns next to the ‘issue’ and head the columns with (first) ‘ripple effect’ and (second) ‘action points’. Complete both columns and set up an action plan to resolve the issue upsetting you. By separating the issue into smaller parts, it become easier to find practical solutions and to take action to rectify the problem as soon as possible.
3. Release and shake it off daily
Things happen every day that make us happy or assist in creating an irritable mood or unhappiness. It’s vital that we release and shake off our stress and worries of the day.
Cortisol remains in the blood stream and builds up to the point that our bodies become ill. To release the build-up of cortisol, exercise for 30 minutes a day, meditate, have sex, laugh, have a conversation about your day or sleep. These actions lower the level of cortisol in your system and increase endorphin levels, which make you feel high on life again.
Life is tough sometimes, but you are not alone, we are here for you. Our life coaching programmes offer support and motivation but more importantly we offer real solutions that actually work.
Visit us at www.redthinking.co.za and book your free consultation.