This article originally published on Sixty and Me
Do you shove stressful feelings deep inside to deal with another day? Perhaps you bury yourself in work, or you compartmentalise stressful thoughts and lock them away in your mind? Do you behave in a destructive manner towards inanimate objects, or verbally attack others?
Stress can affect your body in many ways. Oftentimes, these include your:
- immune system
- hormonal levels
- cyclic patterns
- pelvic floor
- mental clarity
- emotional state
- hot flushes
- body image and overall image of self
- body shape
Physical and Mental Aspects of Stress
Both your physical and mental health are important for overall wellbeing and vitality. If one is out of balance, the other will be too.
It’s important to understand how stress affects our whole bodily system, and how these feelings remain long after the initial cause of the stress has gone.
We need to deal with the residual effects, calm our nervous system down, and move forward in life.
Ever woken up in a foul mood and decided to not go on your morning walk? Or maybe you have had a bout of anxiety and cancelled social catch-ups?
Sometimes, you need to cancel your plans and create space for healing. However, try not to cancel them for too long as this can also have an adverse effect on your health.
Creating space and time to reflect on why you are feeling stressed is important. Writing down your reflections in a non-judgemental form is a great way to express your feelings.
Social connectedness also has a positive effect on our overall health and wellbeing. Having a good social circle is such an important part of our lives, especially when we need to talk things over with a trusted loved one or friend.
“People who feel more connected to others have lower levels of anxiety and depression. Studies show they also have higher self-esteem, greater empathy for others, are more trusting and cooperative and, as a result, others are more open to trusting and cooperating with them. Social connectedness generates a positive feedback loop of social, emotional and physical well-being.”
Exercise is one of the best-known ways to help yourself through the stress cycle. Studies show that exercise has a powerful and positive effect on our mental health and stress cycles.
“Adults who engage in regular physical activity experience fewer depressive and anxiety symptoms, thus supporting the notion that exercise offers a protective effect against the development of mental disorders.”
Other Ways to Handle Stress
There are many other things you can do to lessen the effects of stress. For instance, you can:
1. Be your own best friend in a compassionate and nurturing way.
2. Pat and hug your pet.
3. Immerse yourself in nature, walk in a park, by the beach, etc.
4. Dance and sing to your favourite song or music.
5. Create – stitch, knit, paint, draw, write, bake, meditate.
6. Have a massage.
7. Try deep breathing techniques.
Chose something you relax and lose time in.
Stress and recovery are a balancing system of understanding your needs and then creating a plan around what you know works for your mind and body and prioritising it.
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