Tag Archives: stress

How Much Stess Can We Take?

You know that tingly feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you’ve found yourself smack dab in the middle of some major (or minor) life/work/emotional/romantic crisis?  Your palms start to sweat, your heart rate increases, and your vision blurs a bit while the adrenalin is pumping.
The physiological definition of stress (according to Webster’s Dictionary) is quite interesting:  “…a specific response by the body to a stimulus, as fear or pain, that disturbs or interferes with the normal physiological equilibrium of an organism.” We know that stress is necessary in all of our lives; otherwise the runaway bus that is hurling down the street in our direction would be of no interest. We rely on stress to keep us out of trouble, but for many it’s the stress itself that is putting us in harm’s way.
About six months ago, I was experiencing constant pain throughout my shoulders, neck, and back.  Although I practice yoga and am active and healthy, I just couldn’t shake the consistent soreness.  I decided to see a chiropractor for some help.  We went through the typical new patient questions, just giving him a brief synopsis of my life.  As he was checking my pulse, he looked up at my cautiously.
“Am I making you nervous?”
I felt bad that he would think this.
“No.”  I told him.
At that moment we were talking about my job, and I was explaining the agonizing toxicity of the environment.  He then told me that my heart rate was so elevated in reaction to this conversation that as a medical professional he should admit me to the hospital.  He blatantly told me that if my heart continues to be regularly put under such duress, I will have a heart attack before I turn 30.
Where did I go wrong?  How did I end up here?   I always thrived under stress; I felt like that was really when I had the opportunity to shine. How was I so oblivious to the fact that my life consisted of endless strands of sweat-inducing, gut flipping, nail biting melodramas?  I had to ask myself:  “Is this job really worth it?” I know that many of us deal with the same basic question whether in regards to our relationships, money, family or fears.  Needless to say, my answer was no and I immediately realized the urgency for a major life overhaul.
I quit my job and started collecting the pieces of myself that were left in the wake of my stress-induced binge.    I discovered how dreadfully out of balance life had become for me.  I made a promise to reconnect with My Mind, My Body, and My Spirit and to never again lose touch of their enormous gravity.
I am beyond grateful to welcome this refreshing sense of peace back into my life.  I am ecstatic as a I start my next journey to intimately understand the peace we all seek.

OUR HOUSE

Our House

Stress is a bad bad thing…
but we all have it. Every person is different on what they stress about and how it manifests in our mind and body. Stress happens to everyone – it doesn’t matter what race you are, the financial situation you are in, your body type, the job you have, what your love life is like or whether or not your family is in turmoil. Stress causes some dangerous side effects such as bloating (gasp!), headaches (no thanks), body aches, irritability, constipation (eeeek!), lack of concentration, inability to have healthy relationships with others, high blood pressure (my dad), lack of sleep (have enough of that with two small kiddos), amongst many others. Stress can also lead to depression and anxiety, which can worsen the effects of illness and/or disease.

Studies show that we should not only find ways to reduce stress, but we need to figure out what brings us joy to feel our best. What makes you happy? In high school I made a list of what made me happy and I truly enjoyed the process. Try it one day if you find yourself worrying about something you just can’t shake. The worst is when people worry about something that hasn’t happened – something that could happen. Come on, don’t we have enough on our plate? A serving of what could happen could only have a bad side affect. Some people find comfort in stressing out. I personally know someone who does that, my dad, which is the reason why finding ways to reduce stress and creating happiness in my life are things I feel very strongly about. Anyway, realizing ways that bring happiness to our lives will allow us to be grateful for what we have. Being grateful might be the KEY to leading a happier life with less stress.

One “being-grateful” exercise I did recently was I took pictures of everything around my house that made me happy. Our homes are an expression of ourselves. There must be something around your home that evokes pleasure, brings back a happy memory or reminds you of something that once made you happy; like that sky diving picture, or your wedding photo, your comfy bed, a piece of jewelry from your mom, your pet, your high definition flat screen, that beautiful rare piece of furniture that you found at an antique store, your record player (that’s my hubby’s), pictures of family and friends, etc. It’s an easy exercise and it truly makes you appreciate where you put your head down every night.

Here are some of my pics:

This was the very first pic I took. I love the color and it reminds me of when Neil and I drove to NYC on NYE for a Wilco concert. We bought it in Chinatown. It’s hanging in our kitchen.
This picture is hanging above my stove. It reminds me of the time I went to Barcelona and saw the Joan Miro museum. That experience was surreal, no pun intended.

My yellow pantry doors!!! I’m currently obsessed with yellow. Somehow I convinced my man to let me paint them this color.

This is one of my paintings. I love to paint – it brings me an incredible amount of joy and sense of calm.

Images of trees. I love trees – their leaves, flowers, fruit and beauty they bear. I love to look out my window and see our tree-lined street and all the foliage, the branches, the animals that run up and down and fly through them. Trees are symbolic of life to me.
My globe. I love to run my fingers through it and imagine myself traveling the world with my family. Traveling is a true passion of mine and I can sense it will be one for my two year old daughter, Stella, as well. She’s already having daily talks about how we are going to Africa and going on a safari. Nothing pleases me more.

The vintage”Stella” guitar we bought for my daughter’s first birthday. She picks it up and tries to play it almost every day. I love when our six year old neighbor, Livi, comes over and they pretend they are in a band.

Finding my kids’ toys in obscure places after they went to bed. It shows me they had a great day playing.

This one’s for Neil! I don’t know how he convinced me to hang up pictures of the Beatles next to our kids’ pics. We like to fondly refer to them as Uncle John, Uncle Paul, Uncle George, and Uncle Ringo.

ahhh…the espresso machine! A couple of these every morning makes chasing around two small kids a whole lot easier!

A souvenir from my honeymoon in St. Lucia. What a beautiful island. It makes me think about laying on the beach, drinking Scorpions, and giggling a lot. Fun times.

Another souvenir, but this one’s from Mexico (my momma’s hometown!) This one brings back memories of drinking way too much, riding around on an inflatable banana boat, and cracking up with some kick-ass friends.

I randomly painted this LOVE picture and decided to hang it above my door to remind us to always have love and peace in our hearts as we leave our home.

Last, but not least, our garden gnome, Larry II.

The most important thing in my life is my family and the love that we share. My love is so strong, not only for my immediate family, but for the people I call my friends, whom are my family, as well. I urge you to be present and to take a look at your surroundings. What brings a smile to your face? Feel free to share your thoughts and/or photos.

More to come on ways to reduce stress….