Do you think you’re suffering from chronic stress but you just don’t want to acknowledge it?
We have many different stressors in life. The human alarm is in the brain but we are wired to ignore it because we’re wired for fight or flight.
Humans evolved but, like other creatures, we used to live in caves or under trees. We had to know where the bears and wolves were. We had to be on guard against predators.
As humans moved into cities and suburbs, most of us didn’t have those worries but our brains haven’t caught up. The alarm system hasn’t evolved. It still sends chemicals throughout the body that lead to chronic stress.
Chronic stress is something your body has gotten so used to that you think it’s normal. However, when you’re not able to jump out of it, a cascade of events can begin such as weight loss, weight gain, sugar cravings, salt cravings, disrupted sleep, fatigue, muscle tension, and more.
Some people escape into alcohol, drugs, pornography, video games, work, or just about anything else to distract the brain from it and pretend it isn’t happening because they can’t tolerate it.
In the book, When Crisis Strikes: Five Steps to Heal Your Brain, Body, and Life from Chronic Stress co-authored by Dr. Jennifer Love, she outlined 5 steps to help people heal from life’s chronic stressors.
5 Steps to Heal From Chronic Stress
1. Get a grip on the problem.
Have a good understanding of all the dynamics in play for this crisis.
2. Pinpoint what you can control.
Write down everything you can’t control because that’s what your brain is focused on. Identify the things you can control and what you can do about the things you can’t control. This is not a big to-do list. You’re training the brain to look away from the crisis and start seeing options.
3. Find the fire in your belly.
Get started with some of the things that you’ve written down as options to help you start moving forward.
4. Set a time of reflection.
Here, you ask questions like – who am I? Who do I want to be? What’s important to me? What do I value?
5. Hold on and let go.
Let go of the anchors holding you back, whether they are grudges or unhealthy relationships. Instead, hold on to your sense of humor and your healthy habits.
If you want to learn more about getting through chronic stress and other crises, check out Episode 128: When Crisis Strikes with Dr. Jennifer Love.