It’s really easy to get caught up in the psychological manifestations of stress – fear, anxiety, panic and overwhelm.
But our stress response actually begins in our body, a chemical cascade of adrenaline and cortisol, causing our BP to shoot up, our heart to race, impaired cognitive function and elevated glucose in our blood.
And this physiological response can manifest in shallow breath, upset tummies, migraines, fatigue, shakes and confusion.
Yet we still tend to focus on the end of the pathway and often turn to medication to manage the psychological symptoms rather than dealing with the cause of the stress or attempting to regulate the body.
It is exam month for me so I have been feeling all the stress! To regulate my body I have been:
1. Noticing my shallow breath and practicing diaphragmatic breath work;
2. Soothing an anxious gut by eating well and avoiding evening snacks;
3. Calming my nervous system with cold showers and regular short mediations;
4. Reducing overstimulation of stress systems by turning off my phone and emails when I need to focus;
5. DIY massage in areas where I feel tension is building;
6. Regular runs and walks to reduce feelings of overwhelm and give my body a break;
7. 20 min power naps or meditations;
8. Tapping, shaking and free dancing to let go of nervous energy.
Not fancy any of the above suggestions?
Listening to music, viewing art, gardening, yoga and mindfulness have all been found to reduce our stress response so it really is all about tuning into how your body feels and discovering what works best for you.