Generally, stress is a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources that individual is able to mobilize. In other words, stress is the side effect of us believing we can’t handle something.
As you can tell from the above definition, stress is often recognized for its negative effects, but it turns out there is a lot more to stress and it can actually be good for you! Below you can find the different types of stress identified by The American Institute of Stress:
Chronic Stress – The cost of daily living: bills, kids, jobs…This is the stress we tend to ignore or push down. Left uncontrolled this stress affects your health—your body and your immune system.
Distress – Stress in daily life that has negative connotations such as: Divorce, Punishment, Injury, Negative feelings, Financial Problems, Work Difficulties
Eustress – Stress in daily life that has positive connotations such as: Marriage, Promotion, Baby, Winning Money, New Friends, Graduation
How does stress affect us?
Stress can show up in a myriad of ways depending on the individual. Stress can trigger emotional reactions such as anger, irritability, depression, lack of motivation and more. In addition, below you can find a few of many ways stress can impact the body:
Is there a way to prevent stress in the first place?
Yes and no.
We can’t prevent the inevitable and unpredictable stress life throws our way (you know, like a global pandemic), but we can prevent much of our day to day stress. This is the stress that when piled up, can make those unpredictable stressors feel absolutely unmanageable.
Much of our day to day stress can be addressed and prevented by doing the deep emotional and tangible work and engaging in The Stress Less Method™, my 5-step signature system that supports those who work it in uncovering their own version of emotional freedom.
You also focus on energy. Tell us more about the interaction of energy and stress.
This is such an important question – thank you for asking it! The very first step of my signature system, The Stress Less Less Method™ , is to “Manage Your Energy.” In other words, manage your physiological stress response.
Each and everyone of us has something in our body called the Autonomic Nervous System. Now this nervous system can be broken up into two divisions: 1) The Sympathetic Nervous System (Fight, flight, freeze, or faint) and 2) The Parasympathetic Nervous System (rest & digest). According to Harvard, the sympathetic nervous system (fight, flight, freeze or faint) is responsible for sending signals to the adrenal glands which then respond by pumping adrenaline into the bloodstream and the parasympathetic nervous system (rest & digest) is the system that is responsible for the body’s rest and digestion response when the body is relaxed, resting, or feeding. It basically undoes the work of the sympathetic nervous system after a stressful situation. The parasympathetic nervous system decreases respiration and heart rate and increases digestion.
One thing you might not know about stress is that when we are stressed one of the first things to go out the window is our ability to effectively solve problems. Not good! If you’re interested in learning more about this very important first step of my system, feel free to download my free audio training, Why Managing Your Energy is KEY, here.
What are your top tips for people experiencing stress?
Start with managing your energy and your physiological stress response.
A simple way to manage your energy is to engage in Creative Stress Reduction™ —this is any activity that shifts us out of ‘fight, flight, freeze or faint’ mode and into ‘rest & digest’ mode. This activity will be as unique as you are. Here’s how you can find an activity that works for you:
- Make a list of at least 25 things you love
It can be anything and your list should be diverse. For instance, your list may include doodling, going on a walk, calling a friend, crafting, being in nature, etc.
- Choose one activity that you are excited about exploring and aligns with your available resources (time, money, energy, etc.)
- Consciously engage in your unique creative stress reduction activity
In order to get the benefits of Creative Stress Reduction, you must consciously engage in your unique activity so that it will nurture you into ‘rest and digest’ mode versus support you in numbing or hiding from the discomfort (i.e. perhaps just 1 episode of your favorite TV show will do).
- Enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Return to work (or whatever else you took a break from) with ease and grace. It’s from this place you’ll be able to solve problems more effectively and begin to work smarter, not harder.
What are your top recommended resources, besides your own, for managing stress?
I absolutely love the work of Drs. Henry Harville and Helen LaKelly Hunt called Safe Conversations; relationships are one of the top stressors in the United States and I believe the work they are doing could truly change the world (so much so that I’m currently pursuing a certificate to become a certified Safe Conversations workshop facilitator).
I’ve also found YouTube is a wondrous place when it comes to managing my own energy. I love channels such as LoFi Girl, Slow TV Relax & Background, The Cottage Fairy (my current favorite), and, every once in awhile, I’ll take a peek at Yoga with Adrienne as well. During the winter, I also love this cozy fireplace slow tv video to create some of those Gemütlichkeit /hygge vibes for myself.
Connect with Carlee Myers
Apply for a Discovery Call with Carlee: https://thestresslessco.com/apply
About Carlee Myers:
Carlee Myers is an expert at helping business owners who struggle with leaving work at work – whether it’s the physical tasks or the racing thoughts about them – to support them in experiencing more peace and freedom so they can get out of their own way, work less and make more money. As the founder of The Stress Less Company, a remote education company based in Philadelphia, Carlee has helped hundreds of professionals around the world do this all while working less and making more money. She believes there is no-one-size-fits-all when it comes to managing stress and finding true emotional freedom. Carlee Myers, a Diplomate of The American Institute of Stress, has had her work most recently featured in media outlets such as Parade, FOX 29, Good Day Philadelphia, The Maui News and Wholly Magazine. Learn more about her signature process, The Stress Less Method, here.