- Rest. When the stress response overloads the body, it can be a jarring shock to the system. The fight or flight response exists to serve you in the face of impending danger, and should only last for a few seconds - minutes at best. But when you are in a heightened state of extreme stress for hours or perhaps even days, the body has no time to recover and to return to its normal state. This creates an intense energy drain, causing muscle weakness, pain in the joints, headaches, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, increases in sugar and cholesterol production, shortness of breath, and a host of other physiological symptoms. The best way to help your parasympathetic nervous system to do its job is to rest your body so that it can settle all of these responses down and bring you back to baseline. Go to bed. Lay down on the couch. Relax on the porch. Rest.
- Drink lots of water and breathe deeply. Two things your body needs desperately in order to survive and thrive are water and oxygen. When you are in a heightened state of stress, the body is deprived of both. You must replenish these losses as quickly as possible or else you will continue to experience headaches, nausea, upset stomach, irritability, insomnia, confusion/short-attention, and breathing problems. So, always remember to hydrate and oxygenate!
- Exercise. Do this whatever way is comfortable for you, but if possible, get outdoors. A hike in the woods or walking along a waterway is incredibly calming and has a way of speeding the parasympathetic response into doing its job. Be sure to warm up and cool down, and to stretch those tired, achy muscles. It will do wonders.
- Meditate on what is good in your life. The longer you focus on what is stressing you out, the worse you will feel, and the longer you will stay in sympathetic response. Think on things that make you feel good, bring you joy, or that inspire your hope for the future. Focus on what is positive about these current stressors, and BREATHE. Breathe in hope and optimism - breathe out tension and fear. Let everything come back to its right balance.
Follow through on these simple steps and soon your body will stop reeling from the stress and will be back in fine form to face the challenges of the day once again.For more tips like these on how to cope with stress, purchase a copy of my new book, When the Last Straw Falls: 30 Ways to Keep Stress From Breaking Your Back. $24.95 - available exclusively at www.angersolution.com/laststraw.php.