Did you know you can actually control your body’s stress response? Meaning if you are in a hectic time at work or have a big launch coming up, you can promote more inner zen that’ll put spiritual leaders to shame.
Your body only knows stress as stress.
Whether the stress comes in the form of mental, physical, or an emotional stressor, your body will respond to the exact same way, every time.
I first noticed this when I’d sit at my desk and be mentally stressed out about opening my email. Or sitting and having too many cups of coffee. Or doing too much cardio to try to calm myself.
These examples can all increase stress hormones, which will make you emotionally feel more overwhelmed than you actually are.
When you learn how to control your body’s stress response, you’ll notice that not too much in your life has to change, but you will feel calmer, more positive, and excited about all the amazing things happening in your life.
Stress hormones are released from your adrenal glands, which are located above your kidney’s (think lower back). You need this in times of threat to activate your “fight or flight” response so you have the energy to run from a life-threatening situation.
It’s kind of like if a wild animal approached you in the woods. You’d see the threat, mentally register it, then get a quick burst of energy to run away.
Your body has the same reaction over things as simple as trying to get your job done.
Your adrenal glands are part of what is called your HPA axis, or Hypothalamus Pituitary Adrenal Axis. This plays the role of your central nervous system.
The hypothalamus and pituitary glands are located at the base of your brain and sends/receives information from your adrenal glands.
They act on a loop.
So if your brain registers a situation as stressful, you send the message down to your adrenal glands there’s a threat. Your adrenal glands will respond by releasing stress hormones.
Most often it’s a false threat. But your body responds anyway.
If this keeps happening, you will become more susceptible to adrenal fatigue. A Boss Babe’s productivity killer.
Drinking excess caffeine and alcohol can release cortisol, so just sitting at your desk or hanging at happy hour can falsely put your body in “fight or flight” mode.
If you notice you’re feeling a bit more stressed here are six things to add to your self-care routine immediately:
1. Take a break from caffeine and opt for herbal tea.
2. Make a mocktail out of Kombucha. Pour it in a fancy champagne glass and you’ll enjoy the same fizzy treat!
3. Meditate – even for five minutes.
4. Head to a yoga class.
5. Try going for a walk instead of a run or spin class. Excess cardio can also spark your adrenal glands, while walking lowers stress hormones.
6. Grab your pet or a loved one and cuddle up! Cuddling releases your feel-good hormones and will calm your mind and body within minutes.
Sometimes burnout happens for a reason. Read on to see exhaustion as the ultimate gift.