Three Ways to Intentionally Manage Stress

If you’ve spent much time here on earth, you’ve probably experienced stress. In some cases that’s a good thing. In others? Not so much. The key is to manage stress correctly to reduce its impact on your life.

The Fight or Flight Response   

Whether you’re worried about a presentation at work or about to be attacked by a grizzly bear, your body reacts the same way. It initiates a fight or flight response, which increases your breathing rate and blood pressure while secreting adrenaline and cortisol into your bloodstream.

During the fight or flight response, many of your body’s processes stop. For example, your digestive system stops metabolizing food the way it normally would. This helps your body conserve energy so you can focus on the situation before you.

Humans have always experienced stress, but today’s world puts us in a unique situation. From traffic to project deadlines to the awful news coming through your phone every day, stress can easily pile up. And it doesn’t matter if today’s stressors threaten your life or not – your body acts in exactly the same way.

The Impact of Constant Stress

If you tend to just muscle through your stress instead of intentionally managing it, you increase your risk for a number of physical conditions. High levels of stress are linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

Cortisol, one of the hormones your body releases when stressed, is an enemy if you’re trying to lose weight. Because this hormone encourages your body to conserve energy, it makes you more likely to hang on to fat. When we lose weight, we don’t want our bodies to conserve energy. We want to use it as much as possible.

Intentionally Managing Stress

While we can’t always control the stressors in our lives, we can control their impact. This, in turn, lessens the impact of our fight or flight response on our body. Here are three techniques you can use to intentionally manage the stress you encounter in your daily life.

 

Your Next Steps

Research one of the stress management methods listed above to learn more about how to use it to your advantage. Practice your chosen method, then share what you’ve learned with your Challenge Group. If you find that one method doesn’t seem to do much to make you feel less stressed, try another. Practice stress reduction techniques at least once a day, as well as whenever stressful situations occur.

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