Do you suffer from stress? Every person will experience it at some point in their life. It is unavoidable. Of course there are also different kind of stress, for today I will focus on mental stress.
I have dealt with my fair share. My hubby was deployed twice. We have had multiple moves, been short on finances, serious health issues, experienced death of a loved one, etc. All of these are situational and have been compounded by what we go through daily. Yet, they have all passed. They were just moments.
Even though we may deal with physical stress or situational stress, they often cause mental stress, and compound other issues of life. It is my opinion that day-to-day mental stress can be the worst form of stress to deal with because it is long lasting, as well as elusive.
*If you are a Trim Healthy Mama, you have a lot of good going for you already. Yay! But maybe you still deal with some health issues or struggle with stress. Please read to see if this can help encourage you a bit.*
How Mental Stress Affects the Body
Whether stress is present in an adult or child it will create strains on the human body if not properly dealt with.
Mental stress will:
- Triggers chain reactions that start in the nervous system, affecting both the CNS and the ENS.
- Cause negative impact of stress on the nervous system.
- It will impact the digestive system creating imbalance.
- In pregnant women, it can cause oxidation to take place as the baby is growing and create problems with the unborn child health.
- Result in improper glucose metabolism
- Negatively impact the endocrine system.
- Encourage excess weight gain.
These responses will lead to inflammation and disease in the body. These chain reactions will cause our body to have symptoms that are triggered based on our genes. Not to imply that our genes make us ill, but that what we do with the stress will show up as a series of symptoms based on our genetic make-up.
*Check out this How Your Environment Hacks Your Genes, I just found today, 4/9/15. It completely upholds what I am sharing in this post. Note: I do not stand by the evolution theories in the article but love how they address how our changes will help our genes 🙂
Acidic Bodies,Toxins and Stress
Mental stress has also been tied with the body’s inability to deal with toxins properly and even implicated in creating more toxins in the body. This almost makes the body produce a more acidic environment.
Although some are researchers are still skeptical when looking at the acid/alkaline balance in the body, there is an abundant evidence pointing to that balance being vital to our health. With that said, an acidic environment and toxic abundance is counter-intuitive and not at all productive to the design of the human body. We are created to be able to properly dispose of toxins, as well as have an alkaline system for proper homeostasis.
What Can We Do?
Positively, we can have great health in spite of our genes. We can choose paths of peace and mental health creating in our bodies ease of digestion and less inflammation. We can choose to deal with the stress life throws our way with a positive outlook.
The word of God (the One who created us) tells us to :
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
Also take a look at Psalms 19. It is full of how God’s word keeps us in peace and in safety, spirit, soul and body.
Evidence has shown that patients who undergo trauma, treatment or surgery who have a positive outlook in life will often heal faster than those with negative outlooks.
We need to allow ourselves time and space to learn what works best for us. Finding out your source of stress can do wonders. Yet that doesn’t always solve everything, we still need to find relief.
Simple steps to help you relieve mental stress include:
- daily exercise
- meditation (I recommend using God’s word as your source)
- yoga or other healthful stretching
- counseling with a trusted friend or professional
Other ways to impact our mental health and positively respond to stress are to eat in a way that reduce stress to our systems. Through choosing to eat real, organic food we will reduce toxins and reduce and acidic environment.
We need to be able to enjoy these healthy foods by finding ways to prepare them so they remain nutritious, are tasty. We need to be able to be enjoy these in peace, which also brings about a healthier digestive system enabling us to reduce stress on the ENS enabling our bodies to properly respond to our food choices, as well as properly digest the food we eat.
Your Next Step
You may have known all of this before. Maybe it is new to you. Either way, what I don’t want you to go out and do is stress about your stress! That is the worst thing you can do.
Take baby steps. Change one thing. Do you have a not-so-healthy dinner planned tonight? Rather than throwing out your meal, add a salad and start fresh tomorrow, or next week when you can rewrite your menu.
Breathe. I mean it. Take deep breaths throughout the day. Deep, like down to your toes deep, then release all the air you can. This is incredibly detoxing for your body. Do this throughout the day. If you do it once a day, you are doing more than you were before.
When you tighten and get ready to blow, don’t blow your top if you can help it. Breathe again. Take a moment to check into reality and see good. No, I am not implying that reality isn’t bad at the moment, but that there is good in every moment.
Keep meal time simple to keep it peaceful. If you have littles this can be a challenge. If you have a wildly loud family, this can be a challenge, especially if you are the only one who might be the quiet type. Rather than feeling frustrated that you don’t have the peace you want, smile at your family, it does change the mood in you if nothing else.
Choosing simple foods that are nourishing and that you know your family loves is your best bet. Don’t try to be the best chef and gourmet at this point in time if you feel stressed, even if cooking relieves you. Pick what is easy and you all love. That one can be tough for me, but it helps so much.
Read the Word. Keep your bible out. Don’t be afraid of it getting messed up. You need it more than it needs to stay perfect. Have it read aloud to you by your kids if you homeschool, your hubby before bed, or a recording (there are tons online). Have it on your phone for a quick look up. Or get a mini bible to bring with you.
Hiding God’s word in your heart is even better than reading it, though we do need both. Why? It takes but a moment to pull up the scripture in your heart and brain to settle your nerves, whereas you may frustrate yourself more trying to find your phone or the bible!
Take a few minutes to plan and move. Plainly speaking, planning and following said plan reduces stress greatly. So does moving. If it means you simply write on a scrap of paper to make that plan and follow through, do it.
As for moving, five minutes is better than zero. Seriously. Just try it. I have and I notice a huge difference in my attitude about myself and how I feel through the day if I take 5 minutes to love on my body through stretching, jumping jacks, leg lifts or a few push ups.
Mental stress reduction can be that simple. Sometimes it is more complicated. We can delve into this subject a lot more in the future. For now, take the time to write a couple things, or even one thing, you want to do to help your stress load and do it.
Love yourself and your family enough. You are worth it and so are they! 🙂
If you need prayer, I am here for you. Shoot me an email at countingalljoy(at)gmail.com or share in the comments below. Any tips on stress reduction you can share with others? Please share. I am sure my readers will appreciate it!
Personal experience, My Functional Medicine Dr. , Vintage Remedies and…