Everybody has stress. It’s unavoidable in the times we’re living in. But not all stress is bad and responding to stress appropriately is one of the ways your body protects you. Some stress even helps make you stronger and more healthy when it comes in intervals.
But ongoing stress can make you feel chronically tired, disrupt sleep, make it hard to think or remember, interfere with digestion, increase weight, make you age quicker, and contribute to many other problems.
Some things that cause us stress are easily identified. Things like sitting in traffic when you’re trying to get to work, dealing with a co-worker that annoys you, or balancing your checkbook.
But did you know that there are many other sources of stress that are not as obvious but that can do just as much harm? Maybe even more because you don’t realize it’s happening.
I’m going to share just three of these sources today and give you some suggestions for how you can deal with them.
Some types of stress that sap your energy:
First, it important to understand that stress can be physical, emotional, or chemical. I’ll go deeper into these in another post but for now I want you to have a broad understanding of what they are.
Physical stress, as you would expect, is something that puts stress on your body. This might be from exercise, an injury, or an illness. It can also come from sitting for long periods of time, repetitive motions, bending/lifting, things that put strain on your body.
Wait a minute, exercise is good for you, right? Yes, it’s one of those forms of stress that benefits you – IF your body can recover from it. But when you have so much of the other forms of stress that never seem to let up, even exercise can become a problem.
A hidden form of physical stress might be forcing yourself to go to the gym even though you feel so tired you can barely make it. While I agree that getting out and moving your body can give you more energy, your body must be able to recover from the exercise to get the benefits.
If you wake up really tired (maybe more tired than when you went to bed) and have trouble turning your brain off at night, you may not be fully recovering from exercise and you may be feeling little, if any, benefits from your efforts.
Solution – walking is the best form of exercise when your energy is really low. I’m not talking about power walking around a track or on a treadmill. It’s best to get outside and have a nice stroll. Unplug from your phone for a bit and take in your surroundings. Watch a bird or a squirrel, smell some flowers, walk on the grass or dirt barefoot if you can – did you see my post about grounding?
Give it a try for the next few weeks and see how you feel.
Another form of stress is emotional stress. Some of this is pretty easy to recognize like doing your taxes or difficult family situations. But other times it’s more subtle and you may even bring this type of stress on yourself unintentionally.
But let me ask you, are you a people pleaser? Do you get upset when you think someone isn’t happy with you or when you think you’ve hurt someone? Do you change how you would do things or even make yourself unhappy to be sure that everyone around you gets their way? Do you have a hard time speaking up when you don’t agree with a situation?
Sure, we want to get along with others and be kind and understanding but if it’s so one-sided that you’re making yourself miserable but you can’t speak up about it, it can become a source of stress to your body. This type of stress can be very detrimental to your health.
One of the best things I ever learned is that “no” is a complete sentence. I used to think I had to justify how I felt about everything, as if my opinion was less important that everyone else’s. Then I started to realize that I was just as entitled to my feelings as everyone else was.
Solution – remember that you are an important person too. Your opinion matters and you have a right to express how you feel.
A third form of stress is chemical stress. A lot of people don’t even realize this exists. Chemical stress comes from things you’re exposed to that make it difficult for your body to function the way it should.
One of the biggest forms of chemical stress is processed foods. If you’ve ever tried to read the label on a box or bag of food you’ve likely found words like sodium acid pyrophosphate, monocalcium phosphate, and a bunch of other hard to pronounce words. A lot of them are “enriched” with vitamins and minerals.
This puts stress on your digestive system and other things like your hormone system because your body is trying to process things it wouldn’t naturally have to digest.
Solution – eat more foods the way they’re found in nature. The less that has to be done to make it edible, the more easily your body can digest it. For instance, a apple is easier for your body to digest than a cookie.
Plus natural foods come with all their vitamins and minerals already included. They don’t have to be enhanced.
Now that you know about these three hidden sources of stress how will you find ways to reduce your exposure to them? I know you’re a creative person and I’d love to hear your ideas.
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And be sure to watch for my next post where we’ll be talking about your feet and how to keep them happy.
Hope you have a low-stress, high-energy week.