March 15, 2010

Stress

On Sunday evening, I arrived at the LAX airport to find madness and mayhem.  The biblical weather in the northeast challenged the airways resulting in delayed travel plans for many frustrated and fatigued passengers, my flight was overbooked too.  The tense moment gave way when I decided to give up my seat in exchange for a few extra days in southern California that came with hotel accommodations, meals, a rebooked flight at no additional cost along with a travel voucher for my next round-trip.  While I have a long to-do list, I decided not to move according to the travel itinerary, but to embrace the change in plans. 


To my surprise, the hotel was green, stellar and lush with super healthy organic food choices on the menu. I did the things I was supposed to do and it was a productive time. I also tended to a few business matters.  In the evening, I went to Manhattan Beach, a seaside town in the California. Wow! I had great time and got a better glimpse of life on the west coast. I'm flying out tomorrow and the weather is clear from here to JFK so glad I'm glad that I had the opportunity to wait out the storm.  


Stress will come in your life, it's a reaction to emotional or physical threats (i.e. stimuli) that can be actual or imaginary. Learning to find some peace of mind if only for a few moments whether through prayer, meditation, going for a long walk or just sitting still for a few minutes will help you establish your peace baseline so that when stress emerges you know and can act to remedy the situation.  Stress releases the hormone epinephrine in your body and this adrenaline rush works effectively to raise your blood pressure, increase your heart-rate and open your airways to prepare you for an immediate response to a threat. Prolonged stress is not good for your health, it makes managing chronic disease more challenging as it counters the healing process and hinders our immune response system. Cortisol is another hormone is elevated during stress and it works to relax and return the body to homeostasis it's natural place of balance, but prolonged elevated cortisol levels may alter metabolism and hinder weight loss.  You can be eating a healthy reduced-calorie diet, getting exercise, but if you are stressed out by work, family matters and life issues the stress hinders your weight loss efforts. You may also become fatigued and drained, which may lead to irritability.


Do you gauge the stress in you life?  Try taking a simple stress test. It's helpful to check-in with yourself and to see how well you are responding to stressors in your life and how well you are managing stress. Don't be afraid to seek professional help about stress and employing strategies that help with life balance.


Mondays can be filled with stress, many people find themselves restless and don't get a good night sleep on Sundays due to fear and anxiety about the week ahead.  Stress does real harm to the body, mind and soul and it should be addressed.  Do you have stress-reducing techniques built into your life.  Are you prepared for the unexpected? It's takes knowledge and work to navigate change and negotiate stress in our lives.  Stress will come and so the physiological flight-or-fight response is well worth studying.


The lesson I learned from this situation is that if you can deal with a change in plans you may find unexpected opportunities that fulfill your needs and allow you peace of mind, less stress and balance in life.

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