Are you STRESSED?
It wasn’t until I got sick that I started to realize and understand how stress impacts our bodies and makes us sick. When I was in my 20’s, I thought stress just caused us to be tired and cranky and gave us headaches, but now…I get IT. It does SO much more. And it’s amazing when you lower your stress level and change up a few things every day – you can notice incredible shifts in your well-being and especially your health (and sleep)! Stress does more than affect our cortisol levels; it can change our testosterone, progesterone, estrogen and adrenaline levels, too. Initially stress causes an increase in all of our hormone levels, but if we experience chronic stress, over time these hormone levels begin to fall. This connection between your hormones and stress is only one way that stress affects our immune system; stress can simply influence the number of immune cells we have or change their activity, making them weaker.
Here are a few tips to get you started if you are feeling stressed. Grab a note pad and a handy pen and follow these four steps.
- Make a list of anything that is stressful in your life. It could be your boss, your mother, your wife, your grandfather, your landlord, your teacher. You get the point. Go-just start writing and don’t stop until you know for sure there aren’t any other stressors in your daily life.
- Put a STAR next to everything that YOU can control. You may be able to change many of these stressors but you may also may not know how- or where to start- or feel disempowered. Go ahead, star them.
- Here is where we are going to make shifts. You can easily SHIFT your stress. Turn the paper over and divide it into three sections. Title the first section: STRESSORS, the second section FEAR and the third section LOVE. You may be asking me, why fear….why love? Well, it’s simple. One thing to always remember in any situation is to choose LOVE over FEAR. (So if you catch yourself in any situation where you are feeling fear such as fear of being alone, fear of not being good enough, fear of anything….simply close your eyes and choose LOVE instead and re-work those thoughts so that you’re now shifting to a place of love instead of fear.
Column ONE: STRESSORS // In this column, write down everything that you CAN change or COULD change.
Column TWO: FEAR // In this column, simply ask yourself, ‘What is the fear that I have that is not letting me make this change?” Write this answer down here and then sit with yourself to feel that fear resistance your body is giving off (this is the dirty work that leads to your breakthrough). Once you identify that fear- you can then MAKE the shift. By feeling the fear, you’re allowing yourself to make these changes and shift the fear out of your mind. “Let it go, let it go, let it go,” as my dear friend Jennifer Kass would say. Jennifer has taught me so much about mindfulness and she’s an incredible resource as well as one of my dearest friends.
Column THREE: LOVE // Once you allow yourself to literally feel that resistance, you’ll be able to ask yourself what you can LET GO OF to release the stress related to this issue you are facing. Go ahead, ask yourself. Listen closely, then write it down in this column.
4. Repeat this exercise for your other stressors that you are facing presently. Continue to work on this every time you feel a stressor coming on to you. Simply stop and listen, feel the resistance then let it go. Then be confident in your daily actions to transform these hidden fears and turn them into LOVE.
You will feel much better. Much lighter. Much less stressed.