Thursday, February 23, 2006

A plan for fighting stress

     For people who know me well, today's topic fits me like a pair of pants a size too small. STRESS!
     I have always been what I consider to be a "doer" person, in that I am always going and moving. I find myself involved in many activities.
     Often people tell me that I should just say no, when asked to help. But the nurturer in me needs to be nurtured, and one of the ways I feel complete is by nurturing others. So, it's hard for me to say no.
     Besides wanting to help people, I love being busy; I love doing. That makes it difficult to say no.
     I have started prioritizing this past year and really thinking about commitments before I agree to them. That's a start, right? And, I have even graciously (although painstakingly) declined.
     So, what about everyday stress? Just as much as anyone else, I have tons of it, too. I need to manage the stress and how to deal with it when it rears its two heads!
     Since I have been exercising, I have noticed that my stress level is far lower, and my days (especially mornings) run more smoothly after my morning cardio.
     I know that is all a part of the happy hormones (endorphins) that are triggered when I exercise. Over these past three weeks, I have made a concentrated effort to do something physical when my mind or emotions are on tilt.
     I have also tried to count down or deep breathe, but those don't seem to really decrease my stress level. I am still not at that place in my life where I can just let things not bother me.
     What really stresses me out (pun intended) is what stress does to my body. Stress causes the cortisol hormone to activate, which is important in a flight-or-fight situation.
     But, long-term stress (sometimes called chronic stress) causes cortisol to be higher all the time, which causes all sorts of problems, including the deposit of fat in the stomach area (coincidentally, my problem area).
     I don't buy into the new fad of cortisol diet pills. Rather I believe that those are bandage for a much bigger owie. Instead, I think we should look to what causes and prolongs stress, and what we can do to relax.
     I am going to sleep in on Sunday. I am going to power walk between classes at least once this morning. I am calling for a massage today.


Monika said...

     Mrs. B., I am so inspired by you in so many ways . . . I hope you make it!

Maggie said...

     Trisha, good luck to you with your battle of the bulge. I turned 30 this past December. My whole family is overweight. I think I was more inspired this year to lose weight.
     My mother, who is 30 pounds more that me, now has diabetes. I wish there were a support group in the Okanogan area for overeating.
     You say stress causes it. Yes, I think that's right. I think being too comfortable causes it, also. Anyway, good luck to you.