Stress is Inevitable, Manage It Like a Pro - 120/Life

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  • Stress is Inevitable, Manage It Like a Pro

    September 29, 2022 3 min read

    Stress is Inevitable, Manage It Like a Pro - 120/Life

    No one likes stress. Even “good stress” like nervousness before a presentation or getting a promotion can make us anxious. But stress in those situations can actually be helpful for us. However; other types of stress, “not good stress” can be bad for us. It’s important to know how stress works because if it’s not the good type, it can have a huge impact on our blood pressure.

    The medical community will sometimes speak of something called General Adaptation Syndrome. It addresses the process the body goes through when it is exposed to stress.

    It includes 3 stages:

    • The first is the alarm stage. The body detects distress, and in response, it releases stress hormones into the system. These hormones increase our heart rate and blood sugar levels and narrow our blood vessels, thereby increasing our blood pressure. It’s the body trying to take care of us via the fight-or-flight response.
    • The second is the resistance stage, which occurs if the stress is no longer present. In this stage, the body tries to bring things back to how they were before by reducing stress hormones and bringing the heart rate and blood pressure down to normal levels.
    • The third is the exhaustion stage. In this stage, which comes after a prolonged period of experiencing stress, the body feels depleted because of its repeated attempts to recover from the first stage (alarm stage).

    Aside from fatigue, anxiety, mental fog, and depression, if we don’t find a way to keep our bodies from entering that third stage, then we are at risk of developing decreased immune function, stomach ulcers, type-2 diabetes, and cardiac disease (including high blood pressure).

    As I mentioned above, there’s “good” stress and “not good” stress. Good stress is part of being alive. It keeps us motivated, keeps our body working, and helps us stay alert and focused. This type of stress would take us through stages one and two of General Adaptation Syndrome.

    Then there’s the “not good” stress This type of stress comes about when you hear or see something that makes you feel a lack of control. Like when your blood pressure medication has been recalled, your significant other is mad at you, inflation is hovering over your finances, every time you turn on your favorite news channel you’re hearing about war and the polarization of our population. Or you’re afraid of something, or you keep comparing your life to what you see on social media. Any of these can take us into the third stage of General Adaptation Syndrome and bring with it all the physical ailments mentioned earlier.

    Obviously, we can’t always avoid “not good” stress, and so we need to find ways to manage it. That way, we can reassert control of our own body and keep stress from causing physical problems.

    Some suggestions for managing stress:

    • Physical Activity. Particularly something you enjoy. You can, walk, hike, play tennis, pickleball, go to the gym, jump on a trampoline, or dance in your room! Just move your body!
    • Meditation. If you don’t have any experience with meditating, there are many apps available to help you. I personally recommend Headspace, but if you find something else that works well for you, use that.
    • Talk therapy. That works whether or not you’re seeing a professional or getting together with a friend to talk.
    • Taking action to change things that can be changed. Speaking with appropriate parties at work or home. Changing jobs. Asking for help. Speaking with your MD about medication recalls. Getting involved in a cause that empowers you.
    • Scheduling and doing things that you can look forward to. When done regularly, even something small can make a difference. Art classes, voice lessons, instrument lessons, language lessons.

      Anything that makes you feel more in control and/or brings you bliss is encouraged! Your heart will thank you later!

      Here’s to your health!

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