Relieving the Impact of Stress
Each day we are greeted with a constant barrage of unnerving updates and breaking news that demand our attention. Things we never imagined happening have happened and simply sitting in front of a screen creates anxiety. It’s no secret that stress has negative impacts on our body, mind and spirit. It can decrease our immune system’s ability to fight off illness and disease. And unfortunately, even prior to the multiple crisis situations in our world, being stressed out was already a daily way of life for many of us.
Our bodies are designed to move into fight/flight mode when attack is imminent. Our adrenaline levels rise to protect us from the attacker. However, the body cannot discern the difference in an impending physical attack or when our minds get bogged down in anxiety. When stressors are regularly present, the Mayo Clinic reports your body will produce overproduce cortisol and other stress hormones that can lead to a variety of health implications including digestive issues, sleep problems, heart disease, anxiety, depression and more.
Likely, none of this is new news, but sadly it seems our world is becoming more stressful. While you and Rotary are making positive impacts across the globe, living a stress-free life might not be possible. But you can manage your reaction to stress and the impact it has on your life.
A tool is available to you any time of any day. And even better news is – it’s completely FREE! I feel certain you are working with this tool as you read this Reflection article – your breath. The importance of respiration is obvious, as it literally supports life. It is something our bodies do naturally, but it is also a skill that can be expanded to support our health.
How often do you pay attention to your breath? The simple act of becoming aware of one of the 25,000 breaths you breathe each day will calm your mind. The Mayo Clinic states that deep breathing can decrease the effect of stress on your mind and body. It also can slow your heartbeat and lower or stabilize blood pressure.
Practicing deep breathing is not difficult. Without changing your breath, simply notice how you are breathing – deep, shallow, quick, long, whatever it is, just be with it for a moment. Now, begin with one deep inhale and one complete exhale. It is that simple. The challenge is to bring our chaotic mind back to our breath when stressful moments arise. You can rely on your breath to support, and even improve, your health.
Extraordinary times call for extraordinary people to make a difference. Thank you for your Service Above Self particularly now. Keep breathing deep and remember how extraordinary you are.
–Tisha Tate Garcia