Stuck in Stress

We don't often see snow in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, therefore, winter driving can be difficult for the snow-challenged. Experience is a wonderful teacher, but since our days on the coast tend to be wet rather than snowy, many drivers have not had much practice negotiating streets that have yet to be cleared of snow or salted.

I've seen people stomp on the accelerator in a misguided effort to free their car from its snowy grips. Gassing it just serves to burn up the fuel and get them more deeply entrenched.

A similar pattern can happen when people are stressed. In order to negotiate the treacherous roads that accompany a stress-filled life, they ram their foot on the accelerator, thinking that more gas is going to get them where they want to go. Initially, this may prove successful. They arrive at their destination, albeit tired and low on fuel. However, this is not sustainable. At some point - one, five or ten years later - this over-drive mode begins to take its toll.

Here are just some of the many ways in which stress can leave skid marks across your life:

  • Physically - aches and pains, susceptibility to cold and flu viruses, high blood-pressure or cholesterol, heart conditions
  • Mentally - decreased productivity and problem-solving, forgetfulness, out-of -the-zone thinking
  • Emotionally - less patience, bitterness, increased feelings of anxiety, anger.

Your autonomic nervous system (ANS) is comprised of two parts - the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS). Each has a specific role to play. The SNS can be equated to the gas - the get-up-and-go - whereas the PSNS is the brake - the downtime. With an imbalance in the ANS, people may be stuck in the high energy of the SNS or the low energy of the PSNS. Some fluctuate between the two.

When you learn to undress your stress, you consistently balance your nervous system. Recognize that how you think and feel has a corresponding bio-chemical effect. Become unstuck by using the power of your heart to neutralize then transform how you think and feel. Start small, repeat often and notice how much better you feel. In many cases, the transformation is so subtle that you won't even notice that you are feeling better, because of the inherent desire of the body to be well. Just like a papercut.

Be better-positioned to handle the weather regardless of the forecast. Improve your driving by learning to treat the cause of your stress, and not just the symptoms.

Finally, here's a winter driving video that provides you with some tips to help you get unstuck and get back on the road - the real one.

2 Replies to “Stuck in Stress”

  1. Hello Marianna,
    Saw these Beatles lyrics tweeted: “♫ Baby you can drive my car. Yes, I’m gonna be a star. Baby you can drive my car. And maybe I’ll love you…” and then I read your post. Random? Maybe, but your advice to “become unstuck by using the power of your heart to neutralize” made me think about how music can do just that. Think I’ll go listen to rest of the song now and de-stress. 🙂

    Enjoyed your informative post!

    1. Hi Jackie,

      I love the musical chords that run through our lives to make connections that serve to soothe and undress our stress.

      Thanks for parking here for a few moments. 🙂

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