The Effects of Stress and How to Manage It
Updated: Oct 5, 2022
Today, I want to talk about the effects of stress and why you shouldn't wait to address the role it plays in your life. Some level of stress is a normal part of being human. However, when we experience it at a high level over an extended period of time, it can lead to health issues. You may notice that exhaustion, feelings of hopelessness, and even other more serious problems start to occur. Every individual responds to agitation and burnout differently, but let's explore some of the most common symptoms.
Stress-Related Health Problems
I want you to think back to a moment when you felt highly worried or agitated. How did it feel in your body? You may have experienced physical symptoms of stress without even knowing it, writing off these urgent messages from your body as normal.
For example, many women experience debilitating pain while on their period and think it's just part of being a woman. I always tell my clients that being on your period shouldn't be painful, and is a sign that something is out of balance.
If you experience any of the following symptoms on a regular basis, your body may be trying to tell you that something is off:
Sudden weight gain or loss
Lower back pain
Dry or chapped skin
Short or prolonged menstrual cycles
Do any of these symptoms sound familiar to you? When I was in the thick of my burnout episode, I experienced all of the above at the same time. I was completely overwhelmed and didn't know how to manage my problems without taking some sort of medication.
From an Ayurvedic perspective, we want to treat the underlying problem rather than just the symptom. Many people think there is no connection between what's happening with our bodies and what's happening with our minds, but this couldn't be farther from the truth. Our minds and bodies are inextricably linked.
How to Manage Your Stress
It's one thing to know about the negative effects of stress, but what can we do about it?
Start out by beginning to notice how your body reacts when you're under pressure or feeling burnt out. Let's say you get constipated whenever you're feeling anxiety about an upcoming work trip. If you take medication to relieve your constipation, do you find that a new symptom pops up in its place? If so, that's a good indicator that it's time to take action to address the underlying problem. It's empowering to take responsibility for your overall wellness rather than slapping a band-aid on one negative effect without treating the cause.
The next time you start to feel panic setting in, pause and ask yourself, what is your stress level on a scale of one to five, one being low and five being very high? When you're truly at a five, identify what triggered that extreme response. Was it a work deadline? A presentation in front of colleagues? Knowing what sets you off can help you prepare in advance and create strategies to avoid feeling totally out of control.
The truth is, we're talking about a healing process that doesn't happen overnight. It takes time to calm your nervous system and find healthy coping strategies. But I'm here to tell you, it's so worth it to begin that process. Your mind, your body, and soul will all thank you.
I invite you to stop waiting and start taking responsibility for your health. When I speak to clients, they often tell me that their health is their number one priority, but their choices on a daily basis don't reflect that. Take this opportunity to take your wellness to the next level. When you start feeling better, you can show up better for your job, your partner, your family, and yourself.
Need help learning how to manage your stress? Schedule a complimentary breakthrough call with me today. We'll identify your personal stressors and develop strategies to help you cope.