“Stress will always be there. It is how you decide to handle it
and the level of influence you give it that matters the most.”
– Dr. Myles Spar, MD, MPH
Stress in Lifestyle Medicine believes in helping individuals to use relaxation techniques to cope with the negative stress triggers, whilst using the positive ones to increase productivity. (American College of Lifestyle Medicine, ACLM)
Being an imperative pillar of Lifestyle Medicine, stress plays a large role in the overall health and lifestyle of the individual.
By learning how to cope with stress, one can relieve anxiety, sleep better and live healthier.
At Orbis, we try to convey the already shared idea of stress management: a way to decrease the levels of stress and cortisol, in order to relieve the tensions and complications that are stress induced.
Stress also plays a key role in the premature aging of cells, putting it at high importance in our Anti-Aging pillar as well.
How does stress work?
Stress, as defined by the mental health foundation, is the way we feel overwhelmed or unable to cope with our results, under unmanageable pressures. (Mental Health Foundation)
Once stress is created in our body, we develop something called the “fight or flight” response, which allows us to respond quickly to life threatening situations. (Mental Health Foundation)
Stress can manifest itself in different ways; however, it can be unexpected, making you feel like you have loss of control and it threatens your being. (Mental Health Foundation)
- If stress is short-lived, there are not many physical side effects, as it can create adrenaline, making you run faster during a race or deliver a wonderful speech to thousands of people, for example. (Mental Health Foundation)
- However, if stress is long-lived and constant, it can make it unbearable to continue and cope with daunting life tasks, as we are constantly in a “fight or flight” mode.
What happens to our body?
Our bodies go through various changes when stress begins to affect the body.
Firstly, there are emotional changes. These can include anxiety, fear, anger and sadness. It can also pile up and result into signs of depression.
Secondly, there are behavioral changes to the body when one is stressed. Stress can affect the way you are around family and friends. (Mental health foundation)
You may want to isolate yourself, be angrier and more irritable than usual or may have an inconsistent sleeping schedule as well.
Lastly, stress also affects your body. You may develop more headaches or nausea. Faster breathing in common in short-lived stress as well. However, if stress becomes prolonged and consistent, there are physical health issues, such as improper nutrition and cardiovascular diseases.
Long-term stress can have negative side effects to both the mind and the body. The graph in the figure represents the conclusions that the researchers of the American Psychological Association (APA) reached in 2020, analyzing precisely how the different situations envisaged by the Covid-19 pandemic have negatively affected people’s lives (in this case, on American parents, even if the data can be considered as an example, as the situation globally was similar for all), increasing the factors capable of generating stress and concern.
The disruption of the normal life of children and adolescents (under the age of 18) caused by the coronavirus could have tangible repercussions on the level of stress perceived by parents, in this case Americans. More than 7 out of 10 people say that managing distance learning and work for their children is a significant source of stress (71%).
3 Ways to cope with stress
As seen throughout this article, stress can make you feel overwhelmed; however, it can also be decreased.
This can be done through a few activities that we will run you through now, hopefully you can join us and try a few whenever you feel the need to.
1. Just Breathe.
A simple breathing technique can have massive positive effects on the nervous system and; in addition, lowers the stress levels of the body as well.
Try this one out…
Breathe in for 4 seconds,
Hold your breath at the top for 2,
And breathe out for 6 seconds.
Already tried that one and want to try something new?
We suggest you try the ancient Yoga breathing technique of “Ocean Breath” or, in full, Ujjayi Breath.
Ujjayi breath is done by creating a gentle restriction in the back of the throat with the tongue, whilst breathing in and out. This slows down the breath and makes the relaxation effects even more impactful. (Yogapedia)
2. Look at your lifestyle
By following the 6 pillars at Orbis Lifestyle, by focusing one’s energy on healthy relationships, eating healthier, exercising regularly and building long lasting healthy habits, one can reduce the levels of stress.
We suggest looking at each of our 6 pillars and visualizing ways to better them, one by one.
Once that is done, one can make changes and better their lifestyle, decreasing the chances of stress and chronic illnesses down the road.
3. Be mindful & attentive
This can mean being able to look inwards and realizing what is causing the stress, acknowledge it, and not fixating on it.
It is so easy to become obsessed with the things that are troubling us.
We must not allow it.
If we can control it, we fix it. If we cannot control it, we let it go.
It can seem easier said than done; however, why are we obsessing over things we can’t control?
The cycle will never end if we do not break it.
In addition, being mindful can allow us to grow from the inside out.
Learning more about who we are and what our talents and gifts lay.
This way, we can share our gifts with the world, making it a better place to live in.
There is one more thing we’d like to say about this topic, ask yourself this:
“Will I remember this matter in 5 years from now?”
There are high chances that you might not think so, which means you can let it go.
Therefore, stress can affect everyone; however, it is our job to not let it affect our life and relationships with both others and ourselves.
It is a lot of work, especially in today’s society, where uncertainty roams the streets 24/7 due to the historical events we are involved in.
We hope that we helped you view long term stress in a different light, in a light that makes it seem small. Something that can be removed and conquered.
Go visit our Stress Management pillar and learn more about it! We’ll see you there!
Let’s live life at 360°!