As I was watching my dog sleep the other day he appeared to completely zonked out. I went to stand up from the sofa and he immediately opened his eyes and lifted his head! Wide awake! I was amazed how he could go from what appeared to be a deep sleep to being ready for anything and wondered what it must be like to be in a constant state of high alert. How stressful that would be. Yet so many people are in exactly that state – and they don’t even know it.
I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve worked with who have been in a chronic state of stress for so long they don’t even realize they’re in it. It’s their normal. They truly don’t remember feeling any different. As we work together we begin to realize how many of their symptoms are related to a state of chronic stress which over time has created many health issues.
What are some of the symptoms?
1. Lack of focus or memory loss. Not all memory loss means you are developing Alzheimers! Stress can affect our ability to concentrate. Many times we blow off this issue thinking we are just really busy or aging.
2. Change in appetite. When it’s acute stress we are more likely to lose our appetite to when dealing with the immediate situation at hand but when it’s chronic stress we are more likely to overeat. The body feels like it needs to build reserves to handle the overload so that’s when a large appetite develops and the body craves high carb foods for immediate energy.
3. Change in sleep patterns. Normally when we go to sleep the body switches to the calmer parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) from the more active sympathetic nervous system (SNS). This transition does not take place when the body is stressed and the SNS remains active making sleep elusive for the body and mind.
4. Aches and pains. We often don’t associate pain with stress but it has been shown to have a direct correlation. When acute stress transforms into chronic stress the normal “flight or flight” response that we need to kick in occasionally doesn’t turn off which can cause inflammation in the joints, headaches, migraines, neck and shoulder pain and create a compromised digestive system.
5. Hair loss. It is now been shown that early grey and hair loss can both be attributed to stress. Men and women experiencing physical or mental stress can shed 1/2 to 3/4 of their hair most commonly during or after showering.
6. Other symptoms: bizarre and reoccurring dreams, eyelid twitching, short temper and loss of libido.
There are many things that could be causing the above symptoms but be willing to have an honest conversation with yourself about your stress levels. Ask questions like; Am I happy? How do I feel about my job? How happy am I in my relationship? (Significant other or friendships) How secure am I financially? Do I take time for self care? All of these area’s have potential to increase our stress
There are many fabulous tools out there to help with reducing stress like meditation, breath work, gentle yoga as well as life coaching. What are you willing to try in order to reduce your stress and begin to eliminate any of the above symptoms you may be experiencing? Taking care of our own health and well being is paramount so that we can continue be there for others we love. We fill our calendars with everything imaginable but do we put ourselves on there? Are you willing to make appointments for your self and NOT break them. To become a non-negotiable in your life? You’re worth it!
Health, Joy and Peace,