This must be a stressful time of year because I have had multiple people come up to me over the last week asking for advice on how to reduce it. One person in particular has so much stress that they went to the Dr. thinking they were sick. The Doc said they are not sick but in fact dealing with adrenaline being released into the body due to stress. The adrenaline is ramping up her system which gets her hyped up then crashes hard. The crash leads to depression and bad fatigue. Pretty crappy situation if you ask me.
Stress is one of the main causes for people to “bonk”, or crash hard, in the afternoon. If your stress is high, it’s hard to sleep at night which leads to fatigue. More stress during the day causes your body to release adrenaline which artificially energises you. All of this leads to an afternoon crashing point. The common solution is caffeine and sugar. This leads to an even bigger “bonk” a little bit later. Most likely its a crash and burn on the couch watching American Idle or some other assorted mind numbing show.
Lets look at the cycle; stress leads to poor sleep, then artificial stimulation by your body, then artificial stimulation with caffeine and sugar, a huge crash, repeat. This is not how I want to live.
How do we deal? You have to combat stress on 2 fronts, psychological and physical. Psychologically, you need to recognize your sources of stress and deal with them. You may even need professional help. Realize that you are like everyone else, stress creeps up on all of us and not to many of us have the skills to properly deal. Our world is designed to avoid not deal. By avoiding we stay consumers of side effect drugs, foods, entertainment, etc…. The machine wants you stressed out and they want you to avoid dealing with it. They want you to keep consuming things to numb yourself.
Physically, we have to recognize what stress is doing to us. You have adrenaline and a whole assortment of chemicals being released into your system to combat stress. If you haven’t dealt with the psychological impact, your body will continue to produce these side effects. You will keep having a mental car crash if you don’t deal. Let’s assume you dealt with it. Now you have to start using physical activity to balance your body.
The best way to find balance is to work. Hitting a strength workout or the road for a run is great. It uses the adrenaline and burns off the negative chemicals quite effectively. Even better is engaging yourself in a physical task that requires enough skill to distract from our outside of the gym state of mind, ie Boxing, Kickboxing, Jiu jitsu….. something that blends the mental and physical in a positive way. I use martial arts because that is my business. For you it could be basketball, to each his own.
What we are looking to do is engage ourselves in an activity that will lift our daily burden off our shoulders. Stress comes from carrying a burden we don’t want. Engaging in a positive activity will allow us to put the negativity down and rise to a new challenge. This positive challenge creates a more favorable response from our body as well. The negative chemicals get reduced. Our body responds with a more positive physical state which will support us as we work through the psychological side of things. It is all connected. Positive creates positive while negative will keep bringing us down.
I am sure you have heard that if we believe we can achieve. That is true in realistic goals. If you believe you can fly you still won’t be able to no matter how hard you try. But if you believe you can create positive change, you will.
Be honest about your stress. Work your way through it. Figure out the where’s and why’s. Don’t mask your pain. Take on a positive physical challenge to replace your stress with something good for you. Stop using artificial energy to combat your fatigue – get up and move to create energy!
Stress reduction and success are all about balance; body, mind, and spirit. You have to treat the machine well, fuel it, rest it, and maintain it.