Take the Offensive Against Stress | Health Eagle

Take the Offensive Against Stress

by Joe Lawrence December 15th, 2023 | Aging Well
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Stress is inevitable. Every single man, woman, and child will experience stress in their lives. In fact, in many surveys those asked say they have recently (past six months or sooner) experienced major stressors. We cannot hide from stress, but we can avoid it taking control of our lives.

For years we have been taught that stress is dangerous and that you need to avoid stress. This did not pan out well, because we quickly learned stress is unavoidable. Schools of thought such as this actually harmed our psyche, because it made us fear stress.

Then the big push by the psychological communities was to learn how to counter act the effects. There is no argument against the fact that stress creates numerous hormones in our bodies which can have adverse effects over time. Cortisol has been blamed for increased food storages and gains in weight for those under stress for long periods of time. The sudden increase in heart activity coupled with the weight gains have led to heart attacks and other stress-related illnesses.

To solve this, experts went on the defensive and say to eat healthy snacks when stressed or to burn off the cortisol through exercise. Feeling stressed? Hit the gym or take a walk. The strategy is a good one; however, it never allows you to get the upper hand on stress.

Stress is not new, but our hubris makes us think our generations are different and our stresses are more than years past. I think we are 100% wrong. Living in makeshift homes; marrying as a teenager; having several children because they knew some would not survive; living day to day; etc. would be a lot more stressful. We have things so much better than they did, that we have the time to contemplate stress.

Even the Bible discusses the stress and worry experienced by those thousands of years ago. “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:27, NIV). Worry and stress will always be a part of our lives and the defensive strategy is a good one and will work until we lose footing and allow the stress to become too strong.

Therefore, we need to shift to the offensive against the war on stress. Studies have shown one way to do this. It is something we have intuitively known forever; however, it is something we seldom do: talk to others about our stress.

Oxytocin is the “cuddle hormone” and is released when we feel loved. Many fail to recognize it as a stress hormone, but it is. In fact, oxytocin will repair the physiological damage other hormone cause to our hearts.

By simply sharing our stress with another, we release increased amounts of this hormone and feel better. Ever notice how after you tell someone about something you stressed over all day, it sounds almost silly. Our minds allow worry to make mountains out of mole hills, but talking with others shatters these mountains!

(Photo courtesy of Martin Walls)

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All health and medical information is provided for educational purposes and is not meant to replace the medical advice or treatment of your healthcare professional.