The Link Is What You Think!
I’m a worrier, I come by it naturally, and it is effing stressful.
Things I’m currently worrying about: the health and wellbeing of my family and friends, Colby driving, my work, making dinners every single night of my whole life, continuing education, filling out financial aid forms correctly, Colby and Kyler getting tackled in football, the impending snowboarding season and my children’s need to jump, flip and drop, hunting season, snowmobiling season, biking, boating, and just pretty much all the dangerous things that the people in my life love to do. It’s exhausting!
Last week I read a really great article on acute versus chronic stress that has made me reexamine my worrying and evaluate whether or not it’s hurting or helping my body. Side note, it’s probably hurting it. Below is the Cliff Notes version that I hope you’ll read. I will also attach a link to the full article.
The Science: Acute Versus Chronic Stress
Put very basically, the body’s stress response promotes cell homeostasis. When all is right with the world, it keeps variables such as blood glucose, blood pH, oxygen levels, electrolyte composition, metabolic waste, blood pressure and core body temperature in check. Our bodies are protectively wired to deal with “on-the-spot” acute stress (think heart pounding, fight-or-flight in the face of danger). However, humans are not designed to deal with repeated exposure to situations that cause surges of stress hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine, among others. When our fight-or-flight response stays engaged over extended periods, that’s when we step into the concerning territory of chronic stress.
During chronic stress, sustained release of stress hormones can ultimately corrode human health and deregulate system homeostasis. When the stress response “on switch” gets stuck, it increases sugars in the bloodstream, raises heart rate and blood pressure, and interferes with healthy regulation of metabolism and immunity.
The physiologic and behavioral changes of chronic stress can do the body and mind harm while impacting systems such as immune, nervous, endocrine and digestive. It can woefully impact sleep, which robs us of critical repair and rejuvenation time. The domino effect of such system breakdowns can cause weight gain, fat storage, depression, anxiety, cognitive impairment (brain fog), fatigue, stomach ulcers and cardiovascular disease, among many other troubles.
So how do we get beyond simply coping through stress before it gets the upper hand?
Exercise, move, be active—every day.
Cut back on caffeine and remember Michael Pollan’s advice, “Eat food (not too much), mostly plants.”
Meditate and become mindfully accepting of the here and now, the present, for as little as 10-15 minutes daily. This will help you observe your thoughts without judging them.
Really breathe, inhaling rest and exhaling tension.
Catch, challenge and change (key steps in stress-free thinking). For example, catch your invented predictions—your “this could happen”—then challenge and dispute these “going to” exaggerations. Finally, choose a more realistic focus and set of thoughts that are in the present. ******I love this one and need this in my life!!!******
Rid yourself of “demanding” thoughts, “awful” thoughts, “I can’t bear it” thoughts, and “other self-depreciative” thoughts.
Become a “nevertheless” or “regardless” thinker who is confident that whatever happens, “I’ll handle it.”
Shift your current, self-disturbing and irrational thinking to make room for the healthy, happy, worry-free life you desire. The key is to understand that you have the ability to create healthy negative feelings such as concern, feeling blue, feeling a bit worried, annoyed or irritated, or you have the ability to create unhealthy negative feelings such as stress, anxiety, depression or rage.
Remember, as always, stop stressing out over that which you cannot control. The link is what you think!
SoulShine Schedule - please sign up for your classes and stay current with payment. Thanks! This week’s weather is all over the place. If you’ve signed up, I’ll let you know the morning of class whether we’ll be inside at The Little Theater or outside on the basketball court. As always, each class will be Zoomed and recorded.
Monday: HIIT - 8:15-9:15 am
Tuesday: HIIT Yoga Fusion - 8:15-9:15 am
Thursday: PiYo - 8:15-9:15 am
Friday: HIIT - 8:15-9:15 am
Love you guys,