This past week, we talked about mental + emotional wellness and how it relates to skin health over on our Instagram (@bambuearth).
Here's the recap in case you missed it.
Stress is our body's natural response to life-threatening situations. It helps trigger the brain's "fight or flight" responses so that we can survive. So, stress isn't all bad. The problem is that in our modern culture, our stress triggers happen far more often than they should resulting in chronic stress.
If you experience frequent stressors, your nervous system starts having a tough time distinguishing between emotional and physical threats. Constantly getting stressed in situations that pose little to no risk for physical harm (think traffic jams, high demands at work, a difficult conversation or overdue bills), can cause your body to react just as strongly as if you were in a real life-threatening situation. After the threat has subsided, your body releases cortisol which helps restore the body's energy that was lost during "fight or flight".
The problem with cortisol.
Cortisol is necessary and helpful in these situations, however, when you're frequently stressed, your body creates more cortisol than it has the chance to release. This makes your brain pre-disposed to the "fight or flight" response creating a vicious cycle of constant stress that can lead to anxiety, panic attacks or depression.
Stress is also one of the number one causes of pre-mature aging. Stress shortens DNA sections called telomeres. When they become too short, the cells die or become damaged resulting in accelerated aging.
How do you know if you suffer from chronic stress?
There are many signs that you might be in a state of constant stress.
- poor memory
- constant worry
- negative viewpoint
- anxious thoughts
- racing thoughts
- having trouble concentrating
- premature aging
- aches and pains
- nauea, dizziness
- diarrhea or constipation
- frequent sickness
- loss of sex-drive
- chest pain, rapid heart rate
- depression or axiety
- overall unhappiness
- easily agitated
- irritable, moody
- biting nails, pacing
- sleeping too much or little
- eating more or less
- procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities
- withdrawing from others
- using substances (alcohol, cigarettes or drugs) to relax
What can you do?
Get support: Lonliness and isolation only increases your risk of suffering from chronic stress. Being around friends and family who are supportive and encouraging can help lighten the load and bring new perspectives.
Move: Overtime, physical activity
decreases the amount of cortisol released in response to stressors, helping you manage stressful situations more easily. The more you move, the better your body gets at managing stress.
Eat + Sleep: A healthy diet and good rest are critical in maintaining your ability to cope with life's stressors.
In all of this, don't forget about you. Spend time every day (even if it's just a few minutes) doing something that you love (#selfcare). Spending time in nature is one way to practice self care and is proven to reduce stress.
Get grounded (skin directly in contact with dirt, rock or water): "the Earth is quite possibly the biggest 'anti-oxidant'; and when we touch it, our bodies are flooded with electrons which our bodies use to counteract free radicals or inflammation in the body. Grounding immediately equalizes your body to the same energy level as the Earth. This results in synchronizing your internal biological clocks, hormonal cycles, and physiological rhythms. The profound effect of Grounding can provide healing, calming and balancing effects on the physical, mental and emotional bodies." (via grounded.com)
Now, tell us about your journey. Do you suffer from chronic stress? What are some ways you are able to combat feeling stressed? Comment below.
Credits and additional reading:
Leave a comment
Comments will be approved before showing up.