They say that hypertension (high blood pressure) is the silent killer. It is the root cause of almost 500,000 deaths per year according to the CDC. 1 That’s pretty remarkable – but what’s even more remarkable is that most people who have hypertension or are on the road to it have absolutely no idea it’s lurking around in their bodies and that it’s even a problem to be worried about. That’s why it’s called the silent killer.
I’m not here to talk about hypertension specifically though, today. This week I want to focus on something that affects more than just your blood pressure. Something ominous, suffocating, enraging, and life-altering all the same. Something that sneaks up on us and robs us of joy, life, health, relationships, sound mind, peace, and clarity. Something that comes on us involuntarily sometimes, but other times we bring it on ourselves.
What I’m talking about is STRESS. The actual definition of stress according to the Webster dictionary is “constraining force or influence.” The examples given after that definition now include “a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation.” 2 Excess stress creates an extremely toxic environment in our bodies. It can not only cause high blood pressure but also cancer, addictions, insomnia (which brings additional problems), obesity, gastrointestinal disruptions, GERD, migraines, etc. It can affect every area of your life and create a snowball effect. We all know that stress sucks, it beats us up, and we don’t like it. So why do we have so much of it?
Man… that’s a loaded question isn’t it?
One reason we have so much of it is because we don’t know how to get rid of it.
Another reason is because it is so sneaky that sometimes we don’t even realize how much stress we are under until it takes a toll on our bodies and we are forced to recognize it. It grows gradually and exponentially while we are trying to manage our day to day lives and aren’t paying attention.
Which leads me to a third reason. Management. Maybe we can’t get rid of the stress for good reasons, so we need to manage it but have no idea how to. Standing in the grocery store check out you’ll see magazines with “Relieve Stress” plastered on the front everywhere. Type in the word “stress management” in your search bar and you’ll get thousands of wellness companies, apps, coaches, articles, and products looking for your business because stress management is so elusive to most people. (Hence my specialty!)
I am no stranger to stress. Owning two businesses, having two littles living between two homes, juggling virtual and in-person school, trying to grow my own expertise, and a myriad of other things in my life – stress is always there. Some days I feel like I management really well, and then other days I feel like it’s gotten the best of me. As a whole though, I’ve learned incredible coping and management skills that have absolutely changed my life. I pass these skills on to my clients – they aren’t secrets, you can find these anywhere – but I help my clients actually implement them and we work through your personal triggers.
I want to share with you just a few proven strategies (there are SO many so I just chose my top 4 favorite) to help ease the difficulty of stress in your life. If you want help implementing them, you know where to find me!
Time & Priority Management
Managing time and priorities sounds like a no-brainer, but sometimes it’s the most difficult and often the #1 cause of stress. Learning to prioritize, time-block, and shift things around is essential to managing and removing stress.
CBD oil is a proven solution to reducing stress and anxiety. It interacts with the endocannabanoid receptor sites found in the body and assists with processes in the body naturally to help alleviate some physical and mental symptoms of stress.
Meditation and Deep Breathing
Twenty minutes of meditation is proven to be as restful as three hours of sleep. Deep breathing activates the vagal nerve at the base of your brain stem to provide natural healing for processes in the body. It restores equilibrium to cells and nerves in the body, releases serotonin, melatonin, and endorphins. 3
Laughter truly is the best medicine! It’s proven to relieve stress because it has many functions! One of them is that because it increases your heart rate and blood pressure and then they immediately decrease, you get a relaxing feeling – just what you need when you’re stressed.4 Like meditation, it increases endorphins in your blood stream as well as soothing tension. Ever heard of Ken Davis’s “Lighten Up And Live” program? He’s on to something!
A few others are art therapy, healthy nutrition, dark chocolate, red wine, exercise, sex, playing games, petting animals… The list goes on and on!
So my encouragement to you is to find ways to manage your stress and if possible, shift things around to eliminate some. Make choices that will increase your odds of beating hypertension and other stress-related illnesses. Your life literally depends on it.
- CDC. “Facts About Hypertension.” https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/facts
- Merriam-Webster. “Stress.” https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/stress
- Daube, Jakobsche. “The Biochemical Effects of Meditation: A Literature Review.” https://bit.ly/2YLHXCG
- Mayo Clinic. “Stress Relief from Laughter? It’s No Joke.” https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-relief/art-20044456