In the workplace, we are expected to excel by working harder and faster. Our availability 24/7 is now the norm. It may be difficult to turn this button off, so chaotic schedules and frazzled feelings spill over into our personal life as well. To optimize our health, it is important to recognize that we are not robots, so we must sharpen our awareness to avoid working like one.
Many of us are working in Fight or Flight mode on a daily basis. While this response is useful to escape from danger or respond to emergencies, this constant release of chemical reactions in our bodies can be harmful to our health. What’s worse is that the stress of managing work and households creates chaotic schedule overloads that can be triggered simply by looking at an email, driving in traffic or being in a crowded room.
Mind / Body / Spirit Connection
The effects of Stress cannot be compartmentalized to just the brain, gut or muscles. Stress starts with a thought in the brain, it creates an emotion that travels through the central nervous system releasing chemicals throughout our entire being. This chemical reaction affects all of our systems in the body. Since our mind, body, emotions and behavior are all intertwined, you can see how being in the constant state of urgency can take a toll on our physical and mental health. Add caffeine addiction to stress – not to mention food, drugs and alcohol – and achieving our wellness goals become a challenge.
The physical/mental pressure of stress creeps up on us silently. The chemical reactions first take place on the inside of our bodies and then eventually show up on the outside……in the form of excess body fat – in particular around the waistline. There are articles in countless magazines that suggest how to get rid of belly fat. The hook is usually ‘Melt Away Belly Fat’ with this magic formula or a diet/exercise combo. However, the solution is actually more complicated than that.
Wellness Wisdom: Diet and Exercise goals will be difficult if your body is in a constant state of urgency.
Thought + Emotion = Stress => Chemical Reactions = Poor Health
Simple Solutions to De-Compress
- Breathing Exercises/Meditation daily – 2-8 minutes – Clear your mind.
- Walk – 10 minutes 2x/daily during workday – Don’t talk about work or problems.
- Sharpen Awareness – recognize triggers, do something about it.
- Laugh – Laughter is a natural medicine.
- Listen to music
- Create Boundaries – Know your boundaries, draw lines and stick to them. It’s called self-care.
- Serenity Prayer