Emotional Stress

by Vashte on March 12, 2014

Lets talk emotional.

Stomach ache

Emotional stress and what it can do to a body.

Emotional Stress can be a major contributor to a vast majority of illness, directly and non directly. Illness from the common cold (how frequently do you get a simple little cold, the sniffles, or some other ‘minor’ illness that keeps you únder the weather’ – just slightly) – to more ‘serious’ illness in terms of acute or terminal illness. Yes, stress affects them all.

Every part of the human body can be impacted negatively (or positively) by ‘stress’..

Stress experienced in a negative way, and for too long contributes to:

  • depression
  • reduces the immune system
  • delays healing- emotionally and physically
  • may cause heart attack/stroke
  • impairs memory
  • can increase risk of cancer
  • increases inflammation
  • unwanted weightloss/gain
  • worsen diabetes
  • impairs sexual function
  • increases ageing
  • and more…so much more

Stress makes the body age faster at a cellular and genetic level by shortening ‘telomeres’. Telomeres are DNA at the end of chromosomes that directly affect how quickly cells age. The shorter the telomere, the shorter the life span. Research it. BUT all is not lost if you are a stress head, or are in the middle of an incredibly stressful situation!!!

Stress -Management techniques have been shown to lengthen telomeres (yay!!) So there is light at the end of the tunnel!!!

A life without Stress does not exist. You don’t see every person ageing rapidly, developing chronic illness and living a shortened life by living a life filled with stress. Some do, some don’t. Interesting. This poses the question- why is that? Why can some people handle stress in their stride; whilst others collapse the moment one thing falls out of place? Could it be that the people able to handle stress have implemented stress- management techniques giving them tools to manage stress on higher and higher levels? hmmm maybe…

I think it wise to look briefly at what stress is before we delve into that.

What is stress?

By definition ‘stress’ according to the Oxford dictionary for this purpose is:

noun 
  1. 2.
    a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.
    “he’s obviously under a lot of stress

‘Stress’ is often viewed as “what is going on in a person’s life”. Change; good or otherwise; is stress. A change in perception, understanding, belief, circumstance, lifestyle, weight, marriage/divorce, life/death…. the list goes on and on and on…Stress can be ANY factor contributing to change.  Good change can be just as ‘stressful’ as adverse change for some people. 

The degree to which a person experiences stress is directly related to how that person reacts to that stress. It is how you, or I, as an individual person perceives the stress, which in turn dictates how much if any, stress is involved. Stress is completely subjective, non quantifiable, and entirely personal. I cannot judge judge your stress levels, and you cannot judge my stress levels. Does this make sense?

In a world where we are seeing more chronic illness, more depression, more suicide, more loneliness, more nervous breakdowns, more meltdowns, more encouragement towards being an ‘individual’ so therefore supposedly ‘stronger without the need for anyone else’s help……??!!, and more drugs than ever expected in pharmaceutical drug companies wildest dreams prescribed- with that number exponentially risingwhy are we not ALL taking a moment  to ask ourselves:

pills pills and more pills

  • WHAT exactly is going on here?
  • WHO has created and continues to create this Monster?
  • HOW do we stop it? Or at least- how do I stop it in my own world. If you stop it in your world- you will be the light for others to see and give them the strength to believe that they can do it to. I mean if i can do it, you can too right? So if you can do it- so can someone else. And so it flows.
  • Why is a “meltdown” or “nervous breakdown” so accepted today? Why is it virtually expected at some time in life for many people today???

The people of today must be experiencing obscene amounts of this ‘stress’ to lead them down the road to breakdowns. What is going on????

Perceived Stress.

stress

If you feel stress; you are stressed. It really is that simple. Your body will respond to how you are feeling; so if you ‘feel’ stress- the body will result in stress. The mind affects the body just as the body affects the mind. We cannot dissociate one from the other.

It does not matter what the stress in any given person’s life actually is. What matters  is how that person deals with or manages that stress. For example: making billion dollar investments on high risk stocks can be experienced or perceived in exactly the same magnitude as changing jobs, losing/gaining weight; having a haircut to someone else!!!!  Stress is as individual as we are, and is often compounded by a sequence of events. The straw that breaks the camel’s back is not what actual breaks the camel’s back, but it is the one thing that often gets blamed for doing so when in fact, the sequence of event that lead up to that straw is responsible. That sequence may have started years prior! 

HOW do we stop Stress? Or at least manage it? 

We don’t stop ‘stress’ in life. Without ‘stress’ we would like devolve as opposed to evolve. There would be no challenge in life. No goals to hit. No obstacles to overcome. ‘Stress’ is a necessary and healthy co-factor in our existence. I have learnt the most, the fastest, and more robust lessons through times of ‘stress’ and even tragedy. HOW I choose to face stress directly affects HOW stress affects me. Am I a victim? Or am I an achiever? Do I overcome obstacles with one mighty bound (Superman!); do I take a few mighty bounds?; or loads of mighty bounds which might not appear to the outside world as mighty, but in my world, and where I’m at for that moment- they are mighty!!! This is the mindset of a Mighty Warrior. A Princess warrior. A Compassionate Samurai. Whatever you want to call yourself to give you empowerment- do so! Never the victim. Never.

Some keys I use to manage stress are as follows. They are my Stress Management Tools. If you have not got some tools in place that are used on a daily practice, perhaps you too might like to implement some, if not all, of these too. They just might save your life, as they have mine :)

Vashte’s 9 Stress Management Tools:

1. Learn HOW to turn stress OFF when it is not beneficial. 

In certain circumstances such as when I’m working, exercising, creating… stress is good! I ask myself which areas of life I thrive on stress and allow it in for a short time. This is controlled. I like it. What is life without a challenge or two? There are certain seasons when even a little stress can be too much, so learn to pull back in those times. We all have different seasons and thresholds dependent on what is happening in life, and how we deal with them. Many factors are completely out of our control- what we DO control is HOW we ‘react’ to them or manage them.

Stress in this manner can be healthy when I turn it on and turn it off. I turn it on to produce the goods, being mindful of how I am with others around me at work; then leave it at the door when I go home, or change roles. When I go home at night, I relax. My choice. My rules. Turn it on and turn it off. Just like a light switch. 

2. Pray.

Fear Not

As a Christian I turn the The Lord as often as I remember. I do forget sometimes and thats when I end up tripping over my own feet. :) I’m human; I forget. I talk to Him, I read my Bible, I use work books to help me interpret the Bible and develop my relationship with Jesus, The Holy Spirit and God. I read 21st C books written by Christian’s on how to live in this world- being relevant. I apply these principles. I ditch worldly affirmations and worldly self help books- they just don’t work like The Truth. Nothing does! If you want to know where my ‘wisdom’  comes from- as some have asked- it’s not my wisdom – it comes from God. I dont pray crying out ‘why has this happened to me??!!’ I pray using stregnth and promises from the Bible. I pray from a place of empowerment. Always. With belief that God will show the the way, the truth and light. And He does. Every time. HERE is how I pray to get results x.

3. Meditate

The Bible encourages us to meditate on God’s Word daily. So I meditate. On Him and the truth he has written about me and for me. 

I find meditating first thing in the morning and (if I’m being particularity awesome….) last thing at night. Definitely first thing in the morning. This sets my day up in gratitude, love, clarity and focus. I usually incorporate a brisk walk to help physically charge and awaken my body at the same time.  I walk without music. Just me, God and the other early risers getting ahead start on all the late starters in life! If I quiet my mind, am present in the moment, I hear the answers I seek. Effective mindfulness. Effective communication with the One True God. Effectively developing my relationship with Him. Having fun with Him.

Meditation is about focusing mental energy.

Focusing energy increases power.

Increased power is empowerment.

Empowerment allows for more concentration.

Concentration results in better function and effectiveness: in school; in business; in sports; in LIFE.

4. Exercise

walking

Ooh a life without exercise would be equivalent to a life without music! = NO Life at all!!!!

Walking is GREAT!!! Most people can walk. So do more of it. Faster. 😉 Walking with purpose and appreciating that we CAN walk will change the state of the mind. Try it. Gentle exercise is better  for the vast majority of people in today’s society regardless of fitness level. Walking is one of the BEST fat burning exercises you can dream of doing. Dancing is another. Walking is easier see?! 

I run as nothing makes me feel more alive than when I finish a run. But this is a very jarring exercise and certainly has it’s faults. I walk in the mornings :) Join me! Walk. Walk with power. First thing in the morning. Change your life. Change your stress levels. Empower yourself.

5. Stretch!

Pilates is a brilliant practice for stretching, lengthening the body and strengthening the core. It will give you an amazing posture and free any creaky or stuck bits (frozen shoulder anyone?) Instructors are usually highly trained and focus on core strength. True change comes from the inside out- from the core. Start stretching.

By working with the body, and focusing on positive change, we can manage stress far more effectively.

6. FOOD

Blood Red Sunset www.vashte.com

I finally bring this up. One of my favourite topics!! The food I eat plays a direct role in how I process information and how I handle situations. If you are any different, then… you my friend, are an alien from a planet far, far away.

  • Foods that make us sleepy and tired such as: heavy, creamy foods, pastas, breads, dairy; can slow the body and mind as energy is used in some attempt to digest this crap. Loads of energy is taken as these so called foods produce an inflamed response in many people sending the body into overdrive, causing stress internally.
  • Refined sugar, artificial sweeteners and foods with chemicals (most supermarket foods) go straight to the brain and cause neuro-toxic responses. In ‘Vashte’ words: cause brain farts, toxic ones, resulting in behavioural changes in the vast majority of people. Myself included. I used to drink a product called Defin-8. Sold as a ‘mostly natural pre-workout’ – used by  people who use the gym, or in my case for energy. Much like an energy drink. Well, there is nothing natural about this product. Beware of the label ” natural sweetener”. WHAT EXACTLY is this? It is not labeled. For your information: MSG is a NATURAL PRODUCT. I drink Defin-8 and my brain shuts down. Like flicking a switch. Boom. I’m in lala land. I get agitated and itchy. BAD. Really bad. Here is what is happening: brain cells are dying. Just by me drinking a product sold as ‘mostly natural’. Lord knows I have damaged enough brain cells without adding to the equation!
  • Stimulants like coffee and energy drinks can and often do result in dependency. They sure will stimulate the brain and therefore nervous system producing some degree of false energy, and just as surely, they will result in a crash around 1-3 hours later producing a sure fire crash. Hence reaching for another hit.

Choose real food. Real food is whole food. Whole food is made by God without man’s intervention. We stuff it up every. single. time. Wholefoods are: vegetables, good fats, proteins and a little fruit. If you don’t know where to start with healthy, whole foods I have a wide range of FREE easy recipes to get you going!  Click HERE NOW!I’m not one to hang out in the kitchen unless its a party and that’s where it’s at, but only ever then! My recipes are simple, easy and clean eating. AND DELICIOUS!!! Give them a go!!

By changing the food and drink I consume, I directly changed how I experienced and will continue to experience stress.

7. Breathe!!!!

So simple, yet so many forget about it!

Physiologically, when we are stressed it is completely natural to breath shallow, fast breaths. Why? The body is preparing itself for danger. It senses attack. It is preparing me for a fight or a flight. Blood rushes to muscles in my arms and legs leaving digestion – don’t eat when stressed! Eyes dilate. Blood rushes to my heart and increases beats per minute. I’m ready to fight or run. This is an inbuilt defense mechanism that has kept us humans alive since the dawn of time. Its awesomely clever.  God is pretty on to it! When I am stressed I can get tunnel vision- my vision becomes like a laser beam to the exclusion of everything else. Good if I’m looking for an escape, bad if there is oncoming traffic….or I’m not needing to run like a black panther to escape one. Which has never happened by the way. I’m still here. When I say I like to run.. it is not fast by any stretch of the imagination :)

If I were to experience that every time I experienced stress, I would be a train wreck. Some people live in this state day in, day out. This is chronic stress and is guaranteed to make a human body very sick. If not now, eventually. I lived in this state for two years. A human can live like this for a large part of their lives. What often results is sudden cardiac arrest. Often the first sign of cardiac arrest is death. Which is why cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the Western World. It is too late at the first sign of cardiac arrest.

  • Breathe.
  • Notice your breath.

The breath is usually the easiest sign indicating stress. Sometimes I notice I am shallow breathing when my conscious mind has not quite connected to any perceived stress. All I need to do to regain control is stop doing whatever it is that I am doing and focus on my breath. By taking long, slow, deep breathes, I regulate my heart rate and slow my breathing and heart rate down.

Stress can be controlled by breathing correctly! So simple. Why are we not all aware of this and taught to practice this? In school would be the best place to start. It may help with bullying, exams, sports events.. life after school.

Breath is the link between the mind and the body. It both reflects and affects the body’s level of stress. The mind affects the body; the body affects the mind.  The whole is in the part and the part is n the whole. 

8. Focus.

Vashte Bawden

Determine my focus. I ask myself: what is it I am focusing on? Is it beneficial or toxic? Ditch the toxic. This revolves around forgiveness, letting go and forgetting. There is no forgiveness without forgetting. Chronic hatred and anger are among the worst forms of stress. If I remain angry with a person or situation, I empower that person or situation to lord over my life, take control of my thoughts and create a toxic, sick world for me to live in. No thanks.

Forgiving a person does not excuse the behaviour, but it does free my mind from stress, suffering and physical illness. Let it go. There are many situations in my life where I could ‘justifiably’ be angry and harbour resentment and hatred. pfff. No way. I give it all to God and He can deal with the mess. I have a life to live.

Determine your focus with a pure heart = freedom.

It takes strength and courage to forgive. Just try it. A courage you will never experience if you choose not to forgive, let go and foeget. Live an empowered life, not a life lorded over by those who have hurt you.

9. Reach Out.

Connect with the people! Find support groups, or people similar to you who are also moving forward and getting on with life. DON’T connect with people who marinate in the past and tell their story over and over and over..and over. Toxic!! Run Forrest RUN!!!

We all have sad times in life. Don’t choose to stay there! Move on. Join sports groups, reading groups, computer groups..do stuff that you find FUN!!! FUN!!! The key to life!!! Dont LOOK for happiness!!! Do the stuff that interests you and you ARE the happiness and fun in the world!!!! Just get out and start connecting with good people! Get on with LIVING!! 

Vashte Minta jump 12

This is NO  dummy run, although it sure looks as though there are some dummies sleep walking around this world! DON’T be ONE!!!

Quit hiding out on your own. That is dangerous. Being alone is when the lies your head tells you appear real. Get out and about. Dust the cobwebs off and start Living Life OutLoud!! Watch the stress melt away, seemingly without you even trying too hard.. because you are having fun! Before long you will wonder what that old life was all about and how it was even possible in your world. 

Life is for Living. Manage the stress using techniques proven over the ages. Life involves stress. We can’t stop it but we sure can manage HOW we deal with it.

Live Your Life OutLoud.

xx Vashte xx

Vashte has a BA majoring in Psychology; is a Master Neuro-Linguistic Programmer, Master Results and Performance Coach, and holds qualifications in advanced neurological re-patterning. She has a Diploma in Christian Biblical Studies and is a Qualified Personal Trainer registered with Fitness Australia.  She has been researching nutrition for 20 years; composing wholefood food plans for 6 years, focusing on weight and fatloss via wholefood.

Vashte is a health and wellness ambassador, specialising in spirit, mind and body. 

Vashte is currently based on the Gold Coast and consults from there. Skype sessions are available for those outside this area. Please contact her via email: info@vashte.com for further information.

 

 

 

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