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Living With Negative Stress Takes Years Off Your Life

Early on in my studies while becoming a Life and Health Coach, the founders of the Health Coach Institute, Stacey Morgenstern and Carey Peters, were clear that the #1 goal of each session is to help our clients reduce stress in their lives. They both touched on this directive, but being a curious person, I dug a little deeper. While studying Lifespan Development last year in an online course at Florida State University, I came across a chapter that talks about this more. Here is what I found. “No Matter What Triggers Stress, The Results Are Similar”.

Our brains record stress from a lot of different things in our daily life. Sometimes it’s small insignificant things that happen repeatedly (microaggressions). Sometimes it’s more significant things like being bullied, or the neighbor’s dog that gets loose. Parents may worry that their teenager might be using drugs or experimenting in risky sexual behaviors. Perhaps a boss or family member keeps pressuring you for something unreasonable. Sometimes it’s far worse, like physical abuse. At the end of the day, our brain registers it as all the same. Stress is stress, and it shuts off our ability to digest food properly and absorb nutrition efficiently. This makes it harder to lose weight or stay healthy. Stress often causes real, physiological damage to our bodies.

People that study the relationship of the brain, the immune system, and psychological factors, have determined the following 3 things happen to people under stress.

1. Stress can increase blood pressure & hormonal secretions which decrease the immune system, putting people that are under stress at greater risk to contract diseases.

2. Stress increases the risk of participating in unhealthy behaviors; smoking, drinking, drugs, or staying up longer to get things done.

3. Stress may have indirect effects on health-related behaviors. When we are stressed, it’s likely we often cut corners or make decisions that might not be in our long-term best interest. For instance, many of us know that exercise is good for our immune system. However, when we are stressed out, we often cut back on exercise and binge watch something on TV instead. We might skip a doctor’s visit or not follow the doctor’s recommendations.

Another huge is issue is that stress can seriously impact your love life. Stress put the breaks on your libido quickly. This can start an avalanche of other issues within a relationship, which ultimately causes more stress.

As you can see, it's important to focus on lowering stress. Your first step in reducing stress is to identify your stress points. Start a journal and jot them down as they happen. Keeping a record will be helpful. Your second step is to tackle them one at a time. Trying to tackle them all at once may be too much for your limbic brain to tolerate. Regardless of how helpful change may be, there is a part of your brain that resists change at all cost. Start slow, and work on one issue at a time. If you need help with reducing your stress, then reach out to someone that will support you through this chapter of your life. By starting small, over time you will eventually eliminate stress by replacing habits and choices that no longer serve you, with habits that build your immune system and provide you with a higher quality of life. By doing this, it’s more likely you’ll improve your relationships, increase your productivity, lose unwanted inches, and have more energy to enjoy life from a source of abundance.

If you need help getting started on de-stressing your life, ask for my free guide with a list of things you might try. If you would prefer a more 1:1 approach to lowering your stress, contact me for a complimentary 60-minute discovery session. Consider this an open invitation to begin your journey to a less stressful life. Sources include: Ihle et al., Discovering the Life Span 4th Edition Robert S. Feldman, 2012; Emery, Anderson, & Goodwin, 2013; de Frias & Whyne, 2015

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