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Don’t Swallow a Fly


We talked about the different ways chronic self-imposed stress can affect your body in the mind-body post from November 16, 2023.  Today’s post is specifically about how stress affects our blood sugar and metabolic health.  When you are stressed, your body gets ready for a fight or flight response by releasing adrenaline and glucagon into your blood for your muscles to use.  There is no way to avoid occasional stressful situations, but chronic self-imposed stress can leave our blood sugar elevated which leads to metabolic resistance. We sometimes turn to sugar packed foods for comfort when we are stressed. 

Too often, a common suggestion is “Don’t eat to alleviate stress”.  While it is not good to turn to food during stress, simply telling someone “don’t” is not enough to address the problem.  Rather than turning to food during stressful times, work on ways to alleviate the underlying self-imposed stress.

What can I do about self-imposed stress? 

For today, I am talking about the self-imposed stressors that pop up every day.

I am referring to things like:

·         Drivers on the road that are not driving like you would like. 

·         A tool you cannot find while you are working on a project. 

·         Something unexpected that throws you off schedule when your schedule is tight. 

 

The day-to-day stressors that challenge you may be different than mine.  These stressors can happen many times each day and each of these gives us an opportunity to practice getting better at dealing with them. 

 

The first step is realizing that a stressor happened. The sooner we get our minds past the stress, the sooner our minds can work on a solution.  For some very small stressors, just this realization may be enough.  For medium stressors a breathing exercise (like box breathing – inhale for a count of 4, hold for 4, exhale for 4, hold for 4, repeat if needed).   For larger stressors, maybe a short walk.

 

Getting past these stressors might take a little bit of time.  The biggest thing to realize is that you will get better at it with practice.  Stress is not your friend.  Send it on its way.  It may have been around so long that you are comfortable with it. 

 

Don’t be like the Old Lady in the nursery rhyme who swallowed a fly, then a spider, bird, dog, cow and so on to solve her previous issue. Stop the cycle of self-imposed stressors. It is time to find out who you would be without them.

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