Stress & the Body
Turns out the Instagram memes encouraging you to breathe deeply are on to some solid research: unmanaged stress can have a deeply negative impact in your life and intentional actions to reduce stress are hugely, positively impactful.
According to Mayo Clinic research, stress impacts our body, mood, and behavior. Some common ways that stress manifests in the body include headaches, muscle pain, fatigue, upset stomach, and trouble sleeping. Stress then moves from our body to other areas of our life, showing up in a multitude of ways including: anxiety, lack of focus, restlessness, anger, irritability, sadness, depression, and feelings of being overwhelmed.
From the body to the brain, stress begins to ripple out, impacting numerous areas of your life. Some common behaviors that can be attributed to stress include: changes in eating habits, angry outbursts, withdrawal from social activities, and halting activities that support your well-being whether that's an exercise habit, mindful eating, or reaching out to loved ones for support and connection.
Proactively managing your stress is thus critical to personal and professional well-being. The best stress management strategies include creating time for hobbies that enrich your life, movement and physical activity, and spending time with those who ground you - whether virtually or otherwise. Essential to stress management is simply taking time to center yourself in activities - big or small - that focus on the positives in your life: what's working already, and what gives your life joy, energy, and purpose.
Research also shows that relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, focusing on what we are grateful for, yoga, massage, tai chi, meditation have a huge impact. Take a deep breath and remember: there are many simple, straight-forward ways you can manage stress.
Managing stress is hugely impact to your overall well-being in times of calm or crisis. Breathe, you've got the tools you need!