Picture this - you've just finished up a huge project at work or at home and you're looking forward to spending some time kicking back to relax and take some time for yourself.
Then, WHAM - you get sick.
I remember having this pattern in my life, and admittedly it took me quite a while to figure out that I was the common denominator!
Often, we’re causing our own illnesses, and stress is the culprit.
If you break down the word disease to dis – ease you can see where the problem is! While stress isn’t always a bad thing, if it is not managed correctly it can be detrimental to our health, and cause us unhappiness.
Recognizing the signs early, and taking proactive measures is the best way to prevent damage from stress. So how can we recognize stress before it causes the damage? Try these tips:
Pay attention to your thoughts. Are you being kind with your words to yourself, or are you beating yourself up about things? As Don Miguel Ruiz shares in The Four Agreements, “don’t go against yourself with your word.”
Know yourself and pay attention to your physical body. We all hold stress in different ways. When you pay attention regularly, you’ll catch yourself grinding your teeth, scrunching up your shoulders, or tensing your muscles. Listen to what your body is telling you and try to make an effort to release that tension.
Think about situations that could cause stress. Set yourself up to flow through that stress rather than resist it. Resistance is what makes negative stress. Having unrealistic expectations can set us up for stressful situations. Create a plan for yourself for what will happen when you get to the other side of your stress and envision yourself there to help you get through the stressful moment.
Be mindful of your emotions. Your emotions are great triggers! Most of us simply react when we feel frustrated, disappointed, or angry, rather than using it as a way to look inside and see what’s going on.
Realize that stress is bound to happen – the important thing is how you react.
Take ownership of your tension and stress before the collateral damage takes its toll. Proactively take care of yourself so you’re better equipped to deal with it. Eat healthily, get sleep, exercise your body and your mind. While there’s no way to guarantee that you'll prevent every illness or negative situation, you’ll undoubtedly decrease a lot of unnecessary illness, and you’ll absolutely enjoy life more!
Do you have any tips for managing stress in your life? Share them in the comments so others can benefit from your suggestions!