A friend gifted me an old Garmin watch recently and it has been fun to see how it tracks my stress level throughout the day. So, what is the big deal about stress anyway? Why do our watches think it is important enough to track?
It is no secret that our stress levels impact our health. Stress in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing. God gave our bodies an automatic response to prepare us to handle tough situations well. The problem in our modern society tends to be that the stressors we experience don’t have a defined end point so our stress response doesn't shut off. According to the Cleveland Clinic, long-term stress can result in high blood pressure, a weak immune system, and depression … to name just a few!
So what can we do about stress? In some cases, we can actually address the thing causing the stress. Your job is stressful? Change jobs. But, as you can see with that example, these tend to be big changes that can cause more stress in the short term. So in most cases, the only real option available to you is to address your response to the stress.
There are many different techniques and I encourage people that I work with to identify a few that they can try. What works for one person, or even one situation, may not work for another person or a different situation. Here are some of my favorites I have heard from people over the years:
None of these activities will actually change the situation that is causing the stress, but they halt the physical stress response in the body so that those long-term health consequences can be avoided. And, they equip you to continue your day as a contributor, despite the challenges life throws your way.
What strategies have worked for you? What idea of your own or from the list above will you try?
Katie Kolb - Health Coach