by Josh Taylor
Is it just me, or does everyone seem stressed out? People are running in lots of different directions, juggling competing priorities and trying to do it all and have it all. Even things like getting to the gym or yoga studio can be stressful as we rush to get ready and get out the door.
It’s one thing if we have stressful days on occasion; it’s another thing when those days are part of our normal routine. Why? Because while our bodies are built to cope with stress, they’re not necessarily wired to function in hyper-stress mode indefinitely.
Fight or Flight
You have probably heard of the “fight-or-flight” response, but you might not realize that hormones called catecholamines are involved. These hormones allow your sympathetic nervous system (SNS) to take over. If you are asleep in your home and the fire alarm goes off, your dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine levels will spike. That jolting hormone spike is what gets your body and mind ready to do whatever it takes to get your family and you out of the house to safety.
If you are constantly stressed out, your brain is going to be continually flooding your body with these hormones, which can wear you down. Having prolonged high levels of these catecholamines, can in some cases lead to severe stress and other health issues.
Engaging the Parasympathetic Nervous System
We all need to take more time to engage our parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). When you are asleep your PNS is fully engaged and functioning. It controls things like your heartbeat, the bulk of your body processes, and your breathing (although when you remember that you are breathing you can control your breaths). That’s not all though. When you are asleep your PNS is working to relax and restore your body back to a refreshed state the next morning.
Most people do not take enough time to allow their body to recover from daily stresses, and after a period of time this begins to take a toll. It wears you out and you find that you are constantly low on energy and begin to develop similar symptoms as a result. How often do you take the time to sit down and read a book, do some gardening or go on a picnic with the family? These things all assist your body’s recovery from the day-to-day stresses that plague so many.
It’s important for you to take time for yourself. Pick up a new hobby, or reconnect with that best friend you haven’t talked to in a while. I discovered that taking an hour each night to cook dinner with my wife and eat at the dinner table to chat about our day really helps keep us engaged and less stressed. These regular connections have helped bring me a level of solace and comfort I was unaware I could attain.
Another thing my wife and I did recently to help get rid of our stress was go dancing. It allowed us to throw it down and leave all of our stress and frustration out on the dance floor. Another option is to go on a vacation, and if you don’t have time for that, go on a mini-vacation. The goal is to break away from the stressful day-to-day grind and start living again. Stimulate your brain and come up with something creative for your family to do each week. You’d be amazed at the result
Josh “Superfood” Taylor is co-founder of Juicer Heroes, located at 15337 San Pedro in San Antonio. Visit www.juicerheroes.com or call 210-233-9958 to learn more.