Posted by: Amy Hanson | January 5, 2012

Stress and How Change Affects Us

Happy New Year to you all and may 2012 be a year that inspiration sings in your heart and life’s challenges are few! I hope the Christmas Season was filled with fond memories and you are ready to embrace a new year.There are many events in life that have the potential to create a great deal of stress in our bodies. The first area I would like to address is life’s changes. This could be loss of job, loss of relationship, a change in family dynamic such as a child leaving home or an elder moving in, illness or injury that requires large amounts of energy to overcome and almost any change that disrupts our set way of living.

These are all major life events and as such rate high on the scale for stress. Different people have different capacities for tolerating stress and need different strategies for dealing with the situations. Here are a few suggestions that can be incorporated into your own personal self-care package:
• Acknowledge that the new situation is stressful. The acknowledgement names what is happening and gives us permission to prioritize time for ourselves.
• Take time to tune into our bodies by breathing, and feeling the signals our bodies give. For example, tightness in our shoulders, back, chest or stomach, constant headaches, lack of focus, digestive problems, inability to sleep or requiring excessive amounts of sleep are all signs of strain.
• If this is the case, find ways to relieve the tension in your body. Take time to find ways to laugh and play, exercise, meditate, spend time on a hobby, book an appointment for a massage, energy balancing or other “feel good” session.
• Find a safe place to talk about what is happening for you. This could be a friend, relative, support group, church or spiritual group. Being heard by someone who has been there too is incredibly healing.
• Pay special attention to your diet. Sugar, processed foods, caffeine and junk food can reduce your immune system thereby setting you up for illness. Also, avoid recreational drugs, alcohol, it may relieve the stress temporarily but it will come back the next day.
• Understand that a loss in our lives, even if it is a job, divorce, child leaving home, or of health, may have a grieving process associated with it. As humans, this can trigger all the symptoms above without our conscious thought of it. Taking time to listen to our bodies, and recognizing what is going on, gives us the power to do something about it.
• Trust that what you need to do intuitively or the time it takes, is right for you, no matter what other people may advise.
• Remember that, all things heal with time. The sooner we listen to our bodies and get what we need, the more likely we will move through the challenge in a shorter period.

All that said, if you are still having difficulties you may want to seek professional help. Having someone who you feel comfortable with, and can be objective, will often help you to find a path through the difficult time.

Disclaimer: This is not intended to replace consulting a licensed physician. Please consider a team of professionals who complement each other in helping you.

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