How do you feel when you are stressed? What emotions do you use to describe yourself? Perhaps you feel as if you are fluctuating from one extreme to the next – that there is no sense of control. That it is just how you are, and nothing can be done about it.
When your nervous system is balanced – when you are able to recognize your stress triggers and are equipped with do-in-the-moment techniques, you may be pleasantly surprised to discover how much better you’ll feel – how your emotional roller-coaster becomes less of a frightening ride. It is empowering to know that you have skills to impact the functioning of your autonomic nervous system.
To recap, your perceptions trigger the stress response. The ensuing chemical cascade is meant to assist you in survival – to run, to chase, or to be still – flight, fight or freeze. This prehistoric programming has not been updated in 2013 – you are still responding to your perceptions, as you would have if you were stomping around in prehistoric times. What has changed has been what you perceive as a threat and how you handle that threat.
When you change your perceptions, you change the chemical cascade. Different chemicals have a different effect. Think about when you are with someone you love, or doing something that engages your attention to the extent that you lose track of time. Now, think about the chemicals that are flowing through your body. Seriously, really think about them, and how they are impacting you. The composition is different than when you are gritting your teeth in rush-hour traffic, or going to an event you have no desire attending.
Get curious. Learn what you can about stress and how it takes its toll, not only on your emotional health, but also on your mental, physical and spiritual health. The great news is that you do not have to throw in the towel. Be committed to make changes and you will reap the benefits. I have, and that’s after decades of being stressed, and not even recognizing the signs and symptoms.