My littlest, Anna, had her operation last week, to get the metal work out of her arm from when she broke it last year. The thought of her having another general anaesthetic and having that work done on her wee arm seriously played on my mind. And when things play on my mind it tends to come out in my body… i.e my back plays up!
So I have been doing a little more digging into stress and thought this was something worth sharing and hopefully by writing it down here it will help me take it on board even more.
So far I have been doing rather well, getting my daily yoga in, calming my body and mind and getting prepared with work, tending to Anna and arranging everything for the upcoming days… but still it’s niggling…
So what exactly is stress? It’s nothing else but your body’s response to mental or emotional pressure. A little stress can be good as it can make us get things done to overcome a situation. But when it’s too aggressive or when we aren’t able to manage it and we let it get the better of us then it becomes a problem as it puts us in an even worse situation.
Long term, when stress overwhelms us it will damage our relationships, our mood and have a negative impact on our health;
- Immune system – if we are under prolonged stress, our immune system can be compromised making us susceptible to frequent infections. Even viral illness like the common cold and flu will be prevalent. I see it in people getting reoccurring cold sores or sinus infections etc.
- Musculoskeletal system – now this is my main issue. Stress affects our muscles, they tense up when we are stressed. This is our body’s way of guarding itself against injury. With taut muscles, any underlying injuries or chronic conditions can be sent to a whole new level of pain. Think of tension-type headaches too, our whole bodies can be affected.
- Respiratory system – our hearts beat faster when we are under stress. This can trigger other conditions like asthma or panic attacks.
- Cardiovascular system – continued levels of high stress can have adverse effects on the heart and other organs related to it. This can lead to problems with blood pressure, having adverse effects on other organs in the body.
So yet again I have grounded in the reasons why it is really not very good to have too much stress in our lives…. But what can we do about it?
- Attitude – this is an important factor. When we start to feel resentful, concerned, overwhelmed it can become frustrating and debilitating. Sometimes it can help to take a moment and reflect on our position. For example, instead of concentrating on the negatives around Anna’s operation, I can concentrate on the fact that we are so blessed to have the NHS and skilled surgeons and nurses to get Anna’s arm metal work free so she can heal and not have the thought of it still lingering in our heads.
- Dealing with issues as they occur helps to avoid build up of stress – so not putting things off as it only makes matters worse. The situation is unlikely to heal itself, and often once we start to deal with things we discover they are not just as difficult or scary after all. Often the anticipation is the worst part…
- Taking personal time helps to keep stress at bay – I guess I’ve been doing this with my daily yoga, giving me the space to breathe and calm my body and mind. It helps keep a balanced perspective on life. Find the thing that makes you feel a little more balanced.
- Allow friends to help – even if it’s just talking through your worries. Sharing a problem often enables it to become less stressful.
- Taking care of ourselves is important in avoiding stress – looking after our bodies and minds, eating healthy foods, not drinking too much, getting good sleep and rest and moving our bodies.
- Learn to recognise your triggers – even that awareness can be quite empowering, knowing that you’re reacting ‘because’, rather than just being stuck in the middle of a melt down and having no idea why.
We will all encounter stress in our lives and sometimes we’ll have to suffer at it’s hands, but the important thing is to come out the other side knowing a little more about ourselves, the way we react, what we need, what’s not good for us and moving forward with a little more inner wisdom and confidence.
So…. with all that in mind we shall face the next few days and do what we’ve got to do with the best possible attitude and positive thinking and I’m sure we will see our wee Anna in fighting form, swinging crazily from the monkey bars scaring the life outta me again in no time!