We all know that stress can make us sick, but nobody really talks about HOW.
With this post, I will try to explain to you how stress may be affecting your body so that you can start becoming more self-aware and start making changes now, for a healthier and happier you.
Imagine that you are a little bird flying over the city. You fly all the way over to a power line and start observing people driving like maniacs, honking their horns, running up and down the street with their work bags under one arm, a cell phone up to one ear, and a cup of coffee in the other hand. Everything needs to be done yesterday, for fast results, that will lead to more money in someone’s pocket or a smile on someone else’s face.
Keep this phrase in mind:
“You can do anything but you don’t have to do everything.”
You can do anything you put your mind to, absolutely! But why do we all think that we can/should do everything?
- Your boss asks you to finish an impossible job by an impossible time frame, what do you do? You say yes. — Afraid that you may not get the promotion that you want so much.
- Your husband/wife tells you that he/she doesn’t like to eat leftovers, and asks you to please make a fresh new dinner every night. What do you do? You say yes. — Afraid that he/she will be unhappy and that “small” act can put weight in your marriage.
- Your client calls you last minute and tells you that he/she needs to cancel their appointment with you, but they ask you to wave the cancellation fee because they will be rescheduling with you soon. You say yes. — Afraid that you may lose that client altogether.
Do these examples sound familiar to you?
You start building up resentment towards those people and start losing control of your life. Soon enough, nothing that you do will go according to your plans; everything will go according to everyone else’s plans. Your life will be chaotic due to the STRESS that you will be carrying over your shoulders. The stress that YOU built upon yourself.
Stress starts with a simple Yes.
We should say “Yes” only when we really mean it! We forget that we can also say “Yes, but” and we can always say “No”! Starting a sentence with “No, because”, or “Thank you, but no”, will make you start regaining the power that you may have lost with all the yeses that you’ve said in the past.
HOW CAN STRESS MAKE YOU SICK?
According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress is linked to the six leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide. And more than 75 percent of all physician office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.
We all have the necessary hormones to deal with stress. The adrenal system carries stress hormones that are needed during a flight or fight situation. We need that! The problem starts happening when that stress is no longer acute, but chronic.
Long-term release of stress hormones can lead to many imbalances within the body, which can develop many sickness and diseases in different systems in our bodies.
Some examples of these complications are:
- Increased cholesterol, fatty acids, and blood sugar in the blood for energy which can all lead to diabetes and heart problems;
- Decreased protein synthesis causing problems with digestion, immune response, and allergic response;
- Increased metabolism which can lead to heart problems;
- Blood clots;
- Increased stomach acids, leading to GERD, gastritis, ulcers, etc;
- Localized inflammation of body parts and organs, leading to redness, swelling, pain, eczema and other skin disorders, weight gain, hair loss, etc;
- Increased blood pressure, leading to heart and kidney complications;
- Increased cortisol levels causing weight gain, adrenal fatigue, kidney failure, and heart problems;
- Brain chemistry imbalances causing depression, PTSD, brain fog;
- Increased acidity in the blood, leading to cancer.
What to do?
First, we all need to recognize when we are under chronic stress and start acting NOW, to reduce it. I know it’s easy said than done, but let me ask you a hard question:
What do you think would happen if you dropped dead tomorrow? Do you think that the company you work for would shut down because your life is crucial for the life of the company? Do you think that your husband/wife would starve to death because you wouldn’t be there to cook them fresh foods? Do you think that the birds sitting on the electric cable would even notice your absence? No.
Truth is, everyone is replaceable. Not in a family environment (at least we hope so!), but everywhere else, yes. And, whatever you are working on and stressing yourself out about, that is replaceable too.
In this world, nothing ends, nothing is lost. Everything just changes form.
Start by changing where you focus your energy and the way that you react to people and things. Focus on what really matters: your happiness and your health. Because, in the end, your life is only yours and you don’t have another one to spare.
Here is a list of things that will start reducing your stress level, helping you change the focus of your energy to one that will benefit your body, mind, and spirit:
- Say no, without guilt;
- Slow down;
- Spend time alone, listening to your instincts;
- Practice yoga;
- Choose to be around positive people;
- Drink more water to flush out the toxicity of your body;
- Make sure you sleep 8hrs every night;
- Disconnect from electronic devices 2 hrs, every day;
- Let go of anger, resentment, and the fear of loss;
I hope that I was able to help you in some way with this post. Please share it with your friends and family so that we can raise awareness and have people start taking care of themselves more, and everything else, less, preserving their health.
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Much Love, Light & a life free of stress,
Disease Prevention Advocate, Blogger, Author, Speaker, Certified Holistic Health and Wellness Coach by the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, Board Certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners, and Licensed Medical Massage Practitioner by the Virginia Board of Nursing