In the busyness of our daily lives, we sometimes miss being mindful of our feelings and of what our body is trying to tell us. Our bodies can give us excellent clues about what is happening to us. Even though many times we choose to ignore those hints, like constant headaches, muscle tension, or gastrointestinal problems, our body reacts to our mind and emotions and translates that into physical symptoms.
Being mindful of these symptoms and taking action to improve our well-being is crucial to avoid chronic stress or other associated illness. Seeking professional help should not be ruled out because some symptoms can have other causes or if the stress is so overwhelming that we can't handle it alone. The first step is recognizing the physical stress symptoms, here's a list of the most common signs:
- Muscle strain or body aches
- Chest pain or tightness
- Loss of libido
- Gastrointestinal discomfort
- Sleep problems
Emotionally, stress can be shown by:
- Lack of motivation or focus
- Feeling overwhelmed
Reflect on your life and habits, is there something contributing to the stress that you can eliminate from your life? Or, is there something that you can start doing to relieve stress on a regular basis? Do you feel like you need help? These are important questions to ask. Sometimes all we need is to go on a retreat or a walk in nature, meditating, journaling, and even breathing techniques can help, we just need to be mindful of it, and address it by counteracting the stress.
Actions to cope with stress:
- Analise and simplify your life. Think of what you can stop and start doing differently to make your life better.
- Be conscious of what you eat and drink, too much coffee intake or alcohol for instance can aggravate stress symptoms.
- Exercising can also help rupture stress and release it. Activities like yoga, tai chi, or qigong are interesting because they combine mind and body nicely.
- Sleep is also a super important factor in stress reduction because it allows the body and mind to rest.
- Meditation and breathing techniques are quite effective in calming down the mind and heart rate.
- Seeking professional help.