Hidden Stress Triggers?
Hidden Stress Triggers?
If I’m stressed by these triggers, are they actually hidden? Stress triggers are not always obvious, sometimes they can be completely subconscious and autonomously taken care of by the body while we continue with our day to day lives. That’s why we must always take into account that just because we don’t feel something physically, does not mean that it is not affecting us emotionally and chemically.
Here are some hidden stress triggers that we often aren’t aware of:
All-day we are exposed to germs, pollutants, different climates, and our body responds to this with constant feedback loops on how to respond to any threats, invasions, adapting to compromise to stay in a state of homeostasis. Our first line of defense requires a constant fluctuation of cortisol to moderate inflammation from immune responses based on the feedback coming in. All while we are having a good old chat with our friend and not a single thought required for this to happen.
Posture and muscle memoryIf your posture is in a state of reactivity, ready to flee a situation, frowning and defensive, this is a heightened alert response that may be entirely subconscious and practiced from old habits. The body is often wired to assess and evade stressful situations. That uneasiness or gut feeling changes your whole posture, muscles tense up, cortisol heightens, eyes focused short term on the exits. Try where possible to pay attention to your breath, is it shallow, are you in a defensive posture, if so why?
Accumulation of monotonous tasksPhone calls, bills, traffic and brake slamming, workload, deadlines, crying children not wanting to eat their veggies, you just hung the washing out and now it's raining, relationships and social circles. These small annoyances accumulate to a constant trickle of cortisol exposure to a stress trigger you didn’t realize was a stress trigger, now you’re ‘tired and worn out from life’. Sound familiar?
DietThis one is obvious, crappy food is a perfect recipe for inflammation, digestive discomfort, and poor mood. You get out what you put in right!? Your digestive system is like a mail sorting center, constantly testing and sorting and working out what to do with what. Intolerances are another stress trigger; your mucosal immune system protects you from pathogenic exposure and invasion and decides what gets let through. The true gatekeeper, look after your gut and it will look after you.
If you’re thinking, ‘wow I didn’t even realize this would impact my stress’, you’re not alone. The truth is, stress is always around us and our body is always responding whether we are aware of it or not. To practice ‘mindfulness’ seems like a generic term, however, it is that way because its unique to the individual how you practice that.
- Pay attention to your breathing patterns.
- Go for a walk and listen to a podcast.
- Unplug and read a book in a quiet nook of the house.
- De-clutter, too much stuff can close us in and make us feel anxious and tense.
- Dance around the house in your underwear.
- Go to the gym and sweat out the day if that works for you.
Take Home Message
How we handle stress and practice mindfulness is entirely individual. Just know that both are essential for living and sometimes we forget the latter.