There are times in life when an emotional crisis causes enormous stress. During those times you may be worried about the health of a loved one or your own health; you may have lost your job, or perhaps you’re experiencing legal hassles over some major issue. You may be anxious about buying or selling a house, or worrying about your kids who go travelling thousands of miles away from home – and you haven’t heard from them in weeks. Perhaps you’re reeling from financial losses.
Is it possible to reduce stress when life seems to be up-side-down? Yes, and it’s important that you do. When overly activated, the stress response (a biological reaction to a stressor) can make you prone to illness.
Your top five biological reactions to stress:
• Release of sugar into the bloodstream to create more energy to fight off the stressor
• Increased cholesterol in the blood to create energy and to take over when blood sugar levels drop off
• Reduction in sex hormones which results in decreased libido
• Release of thyroid hormone (thyroxine) to speed up the body’s metabolism to burn fuel fast, giving strength to fight or flee
• Decreased digestive activity; energy goes to the limbs for survival
Unrelenting stress causes the stress response to stay on way too often and wears the body out! Finding ways to turn off the stress response and turn on the body’s natural relaxation response will calm you and bring the body and mind back to homeostasis –normal functioning. During crises, you’ll need a cool head to prevail in order to make important decisions.
10 Ways to Stay Calm When in Crisis
1) Realize that fear is the greatest motivator of stress. When your mind drags you to the depths of despair, think about the best possible outcome, not the worst.
2) Taking action during a crisis helps reduce the worry and stress; if there’s nothing you can do – pray.
3) Deep breathe for a few minutes to stop the biological reactions of stress; count to ten.
4) Call a friend or family member and talk it over. Just commiserating with someone who cares can relieve the stress of the situation. Hug someone you love.
5) Watch a comedy show on TV; laughing is a potent stress-reliever.
6) Get out for a brisk walk in nature – mind and body will come into a better place.
7) Cry if you need to; it may release pent-up stress.
8) Sit down and cross your arms over your chest. Rock back and forth for a soothing effect.
9) Get help from your doctor if you can’t sleep; insomnia can make stress worse.
10) For unrelenting stress, contact a psychologist or a spiritual counselor; you don’t have to do this alone.