There is a lot of information about stress, relieving stress and stress management. From meditation to diet, from time management to journaling. Where does a mother begin to pick how to break her stress cycles naturally?
Stress follows a cycle of events which circle around and around, each step increasing the severity of the next step. To break the stress patterns, you can interrupt the cycle at any point. Some people find one link easier to stop than another. The most complete stress management program will not rely on just one technique, but a holistic approach which encompasses it all.
Often stress management begins with the stressor–the thing that causes the stress. From work deadlines to sick relatives, if only you didn’t have the stressor in your life, you would be fine.
But of course, life will always have stressors.
There are many ways to reduce stressors, from avoiding them to managing them. Often these techniques involve choosing what is important in life. From time management to simple living, from changing jobs to learning to say “no”, many mothers will actively work to reduce life’s “controllable” stressors.
Reaction to Stress
Once there is a stressor, the next step is our reaction to it. What is a major calamity to one person is no big deal to another.
Your reaction to stress begins with how you perceive it emotionally.
Many religions seek to give helpful advice to control you reactions. From asking God for help, to understanding how we are all one, spiritual advice tries to reduce the feeling of helplessness and of being out of control. Feeling protected can make stressful situations feel less dangerous.
If you do feel stressed from the stressor, you body begins a huge chemical change to prepare yourself to confront the stressor.
Many techniques try ways to change your reactions to stress. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a good example of this practice, as well as simple reframing, affirmations, and visualizations. Spiritual practice can also break the stress cycle by changing your reactions to stress.
Wear and Tear on the Body and Organ Systems
There is a lot of information about stress and its effects on our body. When you become stressed, if you do not correct the stressor, the same stress reactions which at first helped you to cope, will now begin to wear you down.
The chemicals that you release when under stress are not meant to be in your body long term. Without rest, your body and emotions will not function well, and set the stage for disease.
This is an excellent place to use natural stress relief. Everything from tight neck muscles, headaches, exhaustion and irritability to adrenal fatigue, increased colds and insomnia can be alleviated and controlled with natural stress management.
Try improving your diet, increasing your exercise (but not if you are already very active–cortisol levels increase when training hard), or starting yoga. Aromatherapy, herbal supplements, and Bach flower remedies can all help both the emotional and physical effects of stress.
Reduced Optimum Health
After a sustained period of chronic stress with little or no relief, your body will wear down. This can invite more serious diseases like high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis, depression and even cancer. Many, many diseases are associated with high chronic stress.
Again, you can use natural stress management to address these problems, but this time it is more serious. You must not only support your health, but also rebuild it.
Consult with your homeopath, acupuncturist or naturopath to make a plan for regaining your health. Breaking the cycle of stress at this point requires a diligent effort.
Increased Sensitivity to Stress
While your body is wearing down and fighting disease, and your emotions are worn and exhausted, your sensitivity to stress increases. This is why people “fly off the handle” at very small events. Overtime, a smaller and smaller stressor will initiate the same stress reaction that a big event used to get.
At this point, you may hear yourself talking about how overwhelmed you are; you may be fighting depression. Sometimes women have marriage difficulties, or their position at work may be at risk. Even supportive friends may become distance because of your overreactions.
Natural stress relief will again look to ways to reduce your reactions and sensitivity. You may try deep breathing or mediation. Taking walks or talking with an objective friend may help reduce your sensitivity.
And finally–another Stressor
And the cycle continues on but this time a level 5 stress gets a level 6 reaction because you’re already primed for stress.
Most information about stress offers advice to beat one or two of these steps. To truly gain peace, you need to master all of the steps so that your body, mind and emotions are at peace and content. Start where can and build from there.