What does stress cost you? Is it time off work, trips to the doctor, loss of joy, too much shopping, too much drinking, too much eating, unfulfilling relationships, loss of control?
Stress is killing us…literally. I am not talking about the normal healthy stress that comes and goes when you are in danger. I am talking about chronic stress as the stress that kills and robs us of so many things.
When we are stressed by an event in our lives, the amygdala in our brain sets off the fight or flight response in our body. This response is our body’s way of getting us out of danger. It shuts down our parasympathetic nervous system (the part of our nervous system that regulates the unconscious actions of the body such as digestion) so our body can work hard to rid ourselves of the danger. Back in the day, that might have been running from a tiger, so we needed a lot of adrenaline. Then our bodies can function normally after the stressor passes. The problem with chronic stress is the stress is not passing, so our bodies cannot return to normal functioning. This is why we are getting sick.
(Some of the above information came from the book, The Essential Oils Hormone Solutions by Dr Mariza Snyder. https://www.drmariza.com/hormonebook/)
Watch the video below and/or keep reading!
The following is straight from web md:
“Stress doesn’t only make us feel awful emotionally,” says Jay Winner, MD, author of Take the Stress Out of Your Life and director of the Stress Management Program for Sansum Clinic in Santa Barbara, Calif. “It can also exacerbate just about any health condition you can think of.”
“Studies have found many health problems related to stress. Stress seems to worsen or increase the risk of conditions like obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, depression, gastrointestinal problems, and asthma.”
Keep digestion in mind as well, because we all know about the gut brain connection. If our body is not digesting our food properly, due to stress shutting down the digestion process, we can get sick not only in our bodies but in our minds. There is a direct link to gut problems and anxiety and depression.
Okay, so we know stress is killing us or at least keeping us from optimum health. I won’t get into any more of the technicalities of it. The question is, what can you even do about it? If you are anything like me, reading something about how bad chronic stress is for me will stress me out even more!
Well stop right there, because while I did want to give you some simple facts about what stress does to our bodies, I do NOT want to stress you out even more! There are some simple things you can do in your life to combat stress, and I am going to share a couple of them here.
One of these simple things you can do to live chronic stress free is to practice mindfulness. Everyone talks about mindfulness and recommends practicing it, but what does this mean? Can it really be that simple?
Simple? Yes. Always easy? No.
In their book, Mindfulness, Meditation, and Mind Fitness, Levy and Levy define mindfulness as “a set of mental disciplines that bring greater awareness, presence, and wisdom to our moment-to-moment experience.”
Marcia Linehan brought mindfulness to the field of psychology with Dialectical Behavioral Therapy which was originally created to treat Borderline Personality Disorder.
Mindfulness started with Eastern spiritual and religious teachings. If you ask me, we were a little late here in the west incorporating mindfulness into mental health treatment.
Mindfulness is connecting with God. I always talk about how God is not in the past. God is not in the future. God is only right here, right now. You cannot connect with God by analyzing the past or worrying about the future. God is not there.
Marianne Williamson talks about how the horizontal plane (the earth plane) only intersects with the vertical plane (spirit, god) in the present moment. That is why if you are not aware of the present moment, you will miss all the opportunities for peace and happiness that God puts in front of you.
For example, say you get offended by something someone does/says. You are choosing to be offended and stay in the past by not letting it go. You will miss any opportunity for happiness that comes your way, because you are not being mindful. You won’t notice the flowers, the colors, the scents, the love that is available to you right now. Letting something go doesn’t make it good or right. It just frees you to connect with God in the moment. No one can rob you of this but yourself.
How do we practice mindfulness? Use your 5 senses. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? What do you taste? What can you feel? All of that is going on right now.
Don’t get hung up in trying to use all of the sense. Just pick one or two if you like. If you are using the sense of sight, notice all the colors and textures of what is around you. Try to notice something new. This is a perfect thing to practice on a nature walk.
If I look outside right now, I see all the different greens since it is Spring. I see flowers with their delicate thing texture as opossued to tree trunks with the rough rigid texture. It is all beautiful and alive, and I can feel the same alive energy in me. It is very soothing yet inspiring.
Mindfulness is about observing the present moment, and you can practice it at anytime, no matter what you are doing. Next time you fold laundry, take the time to just fold the laundry. Totally let yourself get lost in what you are dong. Feel the texture of the clothes. See the colors of the clothes. Smell the clean smell.
Someone once told me that you cannot be curious and anxious at the same time. Mindfulness is about practicing curiosity without judgement. Observe what is happening around you. Stay in curiosity.
Mindfulness helps relationships as well. This one is a HUGE game changer, so keep reading!
When I did my coaching training, they said that when most people talk to each other they go about 20 seconds of listening before saying something. 20 seconds! Wow, that is a lot of pressure to get out what you need to say before someone chimes in. Start paying attention to this for yourself. I do not mean painting out when other people talk too much. I am saying notice how long you wait to speak. Do you let your partner talk? Do you listen mindfully to him/her? Don’t read this and say “Oh yeah. I do that . I listen well. I go longer than 20 seconds.”
Try letting your partner speak for longer than you normally do. Try asking more questions than you normally do. Do the same for your friends, kids, family, clients. Again, this is not about pointing out when other people cut you off or interject too soon. One person doing something differently can completely alter a relationship. Listening mindfully to those you love will bring you more happiness and satisfaction which will create a ripple effect in the lives of those around you.
Since I am talking about mindfulness and the 5 senses, I would be remiss not to talk about essential oils! Using high quality essential oils has completely changed my chronically stressed out life. They work on a cellular level to immediately alter the stress response. It is not woo woo either. There is much science behind it! So use a high quality essential oil to help you practice mindfulness and lower those stress levels!
One of my favorite oils for reducing stressful feelings is Bergamot. Put a couple drops in a diffuser or just smell out of the bottle, and you are upping your mindfulness practice!
For more info on bergamot, click here https://www.doterra.com/US/en/p/bergamot-oil.
Now it is your turn to practice mindfulness, and let me know how it goes! Send a picture or tag me in your mindfulness activity on social media (do it after your mindfulness practice, of course).
If you want help cultivating more inner peace with my coaching services, please fill out the form to contact me!
For purchasing high quality essential oils click here or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peace, Love, and Mindful Moments!
Mindfulness, Meditation, and Mind Fitness, Joel Levey & Michelle Levey, 2015, Conari Press.
The Essential Oils Hormone Solution: Reclaim Your Energy and Focus and Lose Weight Naturally, Dr. Mariza Snyder, 2019. Crown Publishing.