It manifests in each of us differently. For some it leads to anxiety, stomach aches, headaches, tight muscles, insomnia, poor nutrition, irritability, depression, anger, drug or alcohol abuse, chest pain, fatigue, or some mix of the above.*
*These are just a few common effects of stress.
For me, it leads to migraines, tight muscles and asthma attacks. Yes, asthma attacks.
Who knew, right?
Wednesday morning I was hit hard with a headache, one that felt like someone was stabbing me in the left eye over and over again with the pain radiating from there to the rest of my head. It was awful. I went straight home after work, skipped the gym, and took a nap. I went to the chiropractor later that afternoon and within an hour my headache was on it’s way out the door (after a morning FULL of pain meds not doing anything. Have I mentioned how much I love my chiropractic care?) We discussed possibilities of what caused this headache after weeks of being nearly headache, or at least really BAD headache-free.
Thursday morning I was hit with an asthma attack. I was at work when my stomach suddenly growled for a snack, immediately followed by feeling like someone decided to stand on my chest. I decided to go in back, eat a snack and when I didn’t feel better, took a puff from my inhaler. A few minutes later, I took another one. Within moments I was coughing like a crazy woman, shaking (darn drugs!) and bent over in the back trying to calm myself down and breathe.
It was in that moment that I put the two days together.
Yes it was possible my left eye was straining to some degree on Wednesday or that I ate something that triggered a migraine waiting in the wings. Yes it was possible the severe weather changes from -10 to 20 to 68 to 15 degrees sparked my lungs to flare up. But I also know I’m stressed.
My chiropractor asked me yesterday “have you been stressed?” to which I responded “not any more than usual.” We returned to our discussions about how “not any more than usual” doesn’t say much when my body has been in this constant state of protection for years and I’ve struggled to work through some of the stress and rather, my body has been holding onto it – in my muscles and causing all this misalignment in my spine, sparking headaches, allergies, asthma, and gut issues. The body is all connected.
So the question lies, what can we do about it?
Take part in regular physical activity, meditation, yoga, and other forms of relaxation.
I get regular exercise which has done wonders but for me, it’s not always enough. I need to spend more time focusing on yoga and meditation, working through and to get rid of the stressors in my life and relax.
It manifests in each of us differently.
But how we handle it leads to how it affects us.
How do you handle your stress?
What tips do you have for staying relaxed?