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  • Writer's pictureKim Colman

WHY AND HOW DOES STRESS IMPACT US DAILY?

Stress can impact our daily lives in so many ways.

◈ We feel stressed when waiting for someone who is late or standing in a long queue.

◈ We feel stressed when we are stuck in traffic.

◈ We feel stressed when our loved ones are sick.

◈ We feel stressed when we have a deadline at work.

These are just a few everyday happenings that can just add discomfort, stress and anxiety to your day. We are not in control of a lot of these events, such as being stuck in traffic or a long queue, BUT we can control how we react to them.

It is easy for some to say “Don’t get stressed out” but for some of us this is not an easy task. We are all wired differently, thus we are all unique. What works for one person may not work for you. But one thing that is guaranteed, is that ongoing daily stress is not ideal for your optimal health.

When our bodies get the message that there is stress or a threat, it releases certain hormones that enable the body to cope or react to the situation. This part of our body is called the “Hypothalamus”, which is the tiny control centre in the brain.

The Hypothalamus then sends out the stress hormones. These stress hormones are the same ones that will trigger your body into a “flight or fight” response., which is designed to protect you when in danger and help you to react quickly. Thus, your breath quickens, your heart races and your muscles are ready for action.

The stress hormone is a great asset for our bodies to have when we are faced with a threat, as it helps us in the moment. But, if the stress response is being triggered day after day, this could start to put your health at risk.

What could you do to change your response to your daily stress?

  1. Identify what your daily stress trigger is (e.g. stuck in traffic)

  2. Choose a different response (such as instead of frustration at the cars in front, focus on you sitting in the car and feel your feet on the floor, legs on the seat, back on the seat).

  3. Think of 3 things that you are grateful for.

  4. Think of one thing that you have done well today (even if it is small).

  5. Or simply focus on your breath (breathe in for the count of 3 and out for the count of 3.

Keeping our daily stress in check is something that we all need to work on. It is a pattern that we have all developed and sometimes we just get caught up in our recurring habits.

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