Stress…Where’s the Bag of Cheetos!?

Chapter 3 is all about stress. Everyone has some type of stress in their lives. Some stress can be extreme. Stress is the mental and physical response and adaptation by our bodies to the real or perceived changes and challenges in our lives. Stress can be a positive or negative response to our bodies. Distress is occurs when you are tired, under alcohol and drugs, or coping with illness, relationship problems, or financial problems. Eustress is a positive stress. Eustress can motivate, energize, and raise you up when you are down.  Our bodies response to stress in different ways. Not everyone experiences stress the way same. However, our bodies do go through a similar process. There are three phases of how our bodies respond to stress. Alarm phase, resistance phase, and exhaustion phase are the phases. The alarm phase is known as fight-or-flight response. During this phase, our bodies goes through a lot of different stages. Your body produces more adrenaline which causes more blood to be pumped, increases oxygen intake in your lungs, increases your breath rate, the liver produces and releases more glucose that fuels muscular exertion, and your pupils dilate to improve your vision. The next phase is the resistance phase. Here the body tries to return to its homeostasis, when your stress levels are low. However, the body can not achieve clam or rest because there are still some stressors that exist. The last stage is exhaustion phase. Here the body has maintained and depleted the stress. The body returns to it’s normal state or allostasis.

Stress can effect your health. Stress can effect you physical well-being. Weight gain, alcohol dependence, hair loss, diabetes, digestive problems, impaired immunity, and cardiovascular disease are all side-effects of stress. Stress can also effect your memory, concentration, and may cause mental disorders. Stress can also effect your sleeping. Which not getting proper sleep can make you prone to colds, flus and other ailments to effect the immune system. Headaches, tension headaches, and migraines are also side effects of stress.

What causes stress? Some stress causers are adjustment to change, hassles, technostress, a relationships, academic and financial pressures, overload, or stressful environments to name a few. I know personally, I get stressed with change, overload, academic and financial pressures, relationships. I am a type of person who does not like change. I have a hard time coping with it. Even if its a good change, I still become stress about it. Most of the time my stress with change is the known. I know I can not predict the what will happen, but I know if nothing changes anything bad will probably not happen. Yes its unrealistic. I am aware of that. But this is how sometimes I feel. Yes, I have been working on this stressor. Lots have changed in my life in the last year. My world was turned upside down. But I honestly have to say that particular change was one of the best changes that has ever happened to me. I would not be doing what I am doing right now, if this change did not happen in my life. So yes I have been more open to change then I have been in the past.

At the end of the chapter, the chapter focuses on relaxation techniques for stress management. Here the author touches on yoga, qigong, tai chi, deep breathing, meditation, visualization, massage therapy, biofeedback, progressive muscle relaxation, and hypnosis. These techniques reduce stress. There are lots of beneficial attributes to your health. Out of the relaxation techniques that has been mentioned above, I have tried yoga and meditation. I just started yoga last spring and have enjoyed yoga a lot. I feel so much better and relieved after I go to a yoga class. I feel like I have been rejuvenated. I am going to start to go back to yoga to help conquer my stress. Also, I have been listening to the book 10% Happier by Dan Harris. I’m usually in the car a lot, commuting to school and work,  I find listening to Dan Harris’s story on how he tamed the voice in his head inspiring and helpful. I am about half way through. But from what I have “read”, he talks about meditation and other spiritual techniques. When I finish I will give a review of the book. Has anyone else read 10% Happier?

How stress relates to my health aspect of clean eating. I have found that when I am stress, I EAT. I eat everything in sight. When I am tired and do not get a lot of sleep because of stress and/or procrastination (staying up late to finish assignments on time), I will throw out all my clean eating out the window. When I am tired, I just want to sleep. I don’t care what I am putting in my mouth. My goal is to at something the fastest in my belly so I can go to sleep quicker. Of course this is not doing any good for me. What I have learned from the past, when I am super stress I try to do some type of exercising usually running. Which I have a picture of myself from this summer running the Hingham 4th of July race. Running or any exercising makes me forget about life’s problems for a hour or so. After I finish I feel more relaxed and at ease with myself and my problems. Much better than eating a bag of Cheetos which will just make me feel grosser.

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Update on my progress on clean eating. I have been doing very well! I have prepared all my meals like I posted last week. Every meal came out delish! Lots of leftovers which was great for just incase meals if my night got mixed up. This week I made ziti bake with chicken meat…shhh don’t tell mom or dad…crockpot meatloaf stuffed peppers, which was tonight’s dinner (pictured below). Tomorrow night I am going into Boston for dinner and off to see Amy Schumer, so my clean eating out to dinner skills will be in full force!

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