We have been talking in group a lot lately about how stress can sabotage us; in our spiritual lives, our emotional lives and our day to day lives, INCLUDING how we eat and WHY we eat.
When I am under a lot of stress and I try to do my devotions, it works one of two ways. Ideally, when I open my Bible, I find a sense of peace that can only come from God. Most of the time that works. Occasionally though, as I start to read, I am so distracted that I can’t even focus on a paragraph, much less a chapter. (Hmmm… wonder who might be influencing that!) My spiritual journey may not take the exact track I had planned, but I try to pray it out and see if maybe God has a different plan for my spiritual journey that day.
Have you ever been booking along with your day and then it just falls apart? You yell at the kids, the husband/wife or the television. Sometimes, stress will create so much DIStress that you just shut down. You can’t talk about it and you can’t even function. Hopefully, you can explain to the family or those around you and have their support. And that’s only a couple of ways emotional stress can hijack you.
And then there is the day to day/hour to hour thing. You get up in the morning and immediately hit a dead run. No time for devotions, no time for breakfast, much less any time to start your day by communicating with your spouse or any one else. If your morning starts that way, you can pretty well count on the rest of the day going that way too.
All of these things can wreak havoc with, not only all of the things mentioned above, but also your physical health. If you are experiencing a lot of stress, it is unlikely that you are eating properly, exercising, communicating or even spending the time with God that is critical to everything you do.
The Daniel Plan is based on five essentials. Faith, Food, Fitness, Focus and last, but definitely not least, Friends. It is the combination of all five that keep us on track. Remember to remind yourself that GOD is in control, we need to give him the wheel. And by the way, “phone a friend” is never outdated!
In His light,
Is Stress Damaging Your Health?
Dr. Libby Weaver Source: Food Matters
We all have moments of stress in our lives.
Our bodies are designed to cope with small bursts of stress. It’s a natural response to a perceived danger that fuels our body with the necessary resources to get ourselves out of that danger and into safety.
But what happens when we feel stressed all the time? I like to call this the “stress express” and too many people these days find themselves trapped on it.
What Is The “Stress Express”?
Stress is ultimately tied to our nervous system – specifically the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) or “fight-or-flight” system. But it also involves our parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), the “rest and repair” branch.
When the nervous system perceives that we are under “threat”—which in modern times can be due to caffeine consumption and/or our perception of pressure and urgency—the SNS raises our heart rate, increases our respiratory rate, releases stress hormones (adrenalin and cortisol) and diverts blood away from the digestive tract to our muscles so that we can run away from, or fight, whatever is threatening us.
The SNS and the PNS are designed to balance each other. The PNS slows our heart rate and respiration, and brings blood back to the digestive system so that we can digest our food. It also signals to the body that it can focus on doing all the other important jobs it has, like producing sex hormones and repairing any tissues that have been damaged in our “battle”.
When we live our lives ultimately SNS dominant, we end up on the “stress express” and this creates many problems for us.
How Do We Get Trapped on the “Stress Express”?
We’re tired and it’s exhausting being “on” all the time—so we use caffeine to perk ourselves up. Caffeine sends a message to the pituitary gland in your brain to have the adrenal glands create stress hormones: adrenalin and/or cortisol. This fires us up. We get to mid-afternoon and crash, so we seek out something sugary or sweet, or more caffeine to get us through. When we get home in the evening we feel wired, so maybe we use alcohol to calm ourselves down. Any one of these elements can be enough to perpetuate a cycle where we are never truly relaxed and calm, and thus we end up on the “stress express”.
What are Some Signs that We are on the “Stress Express”?
You regularly feel stressed or as though you are on high alert
You crave sugars and/or carbohydrates
You struggle to lose weight—no matter what you try
You’re regularly bothered by digestive complaints
You regularly sleep poorly and wake up feeling tired
You feel anxious easily
You struggle to say “no”
If you’re a woman in menstruation years, you experience PMS
You feel like everything is urgent and there aren’t enough hours in the day
You are a worrier or a drama queen (or king)
You love coffee, energy drinks—anything that contains caffeine
You feel that if you don’t do it, it won’t get done
How Do We Get Off The “Stress Express”?
Having a regular sleep cycle where you get to bed before 10:00 pm is another option that can make a world of difference. If you struggle to fall asleep, avoid screens for at least two hours before bed, as the light they emit can disrupt your production of sleep inducing hormones.
You might also like to explore how comfortable you are saying “no”. You are busy with what you say “yes” to. If you’re a people pleaser by nature, fearful of letting others down, then you will find it hard to say no and you may be exhausted from trying to appear stronger than you feel.
Learning to flex our “no” muscle more regularly can help cultivate a greater sense of spaciousness, more calm, better personal energy and a greater level of wellness.