Stress Signals and Management

I don’t know if it’s simply because I am more attuned to myself or because I consciously spend more time on self-assessment and how I feel physically and mentally, I notice stress now.  It’s been about 3 years since I started going to massage therapy for my neck and shoulders, and since then I have noticed I can start to feel my muscle tighten, get tired and sore. I feel the changes in my eyes, my ability to focus diminishes and my level of giving a f*ck goes down. 

Since practicing meditation I notice when my breathing changes, my belly will churn with anxiety, and I think I feel my blood pressure rise (never tested my ability). Being mindful of my body has also made me more attune to tire and sore muscles, or when something isn’t right. 

Basically, since I started paying attention!

Something else, I feel and handle stress differently as I age. I’m not sure its because I’m older and more experienced. Usually, I can manage it by breathing and mental discipline. I feel as though when I was younger and stressed I would vent, cry and move on. Now I breathe, get through it, but sometimes feel deep despair after. After the negative rush of stress and anxious emotions, I end up in a low space. 

I don’t like this. I have always been a fighter or flighter, but never a giver-upper. 

Here’s how I’m making changes:

  • Daily meds. Daily meditation has a noticeable effect on me. I sleep better and am even better at controlling stress. 
  • Daily exercise. I am way less capable of handling conflict and stressful situations when I don’t sweat on the regular. I think it also just helps to make me more optimistic, happy and unaffected in general. 
  • Reduce sugar. Diet is so huge in mentality. Days when I don’t eat enough hurt me a tone, as well as when I fill up on nutrient deficient foods. 
  • Space Clarity. I find clutter stressful. When I am managing well, I can ignore it. But when I am struggling, clutter becomes a problem and a symptom of a flight reaction. I do regular deep cleans and make sure everything get back to its home. 
  • Brain Space. This is something I have recently become aware of how important it is to staving off burnout. I need time, you need time, we all need time to be quiet and have actionable meditation.  Already I do meditation, yoga, fitness, eat, and keep the house as well as design websites, and write. By being present and giving full attention to a task and zeroing out rapid thoughts, you get the added benefits of meditation without sitting for a meditation. I think this is a key process that technology, always being connected, and never being bored has taken away from yesteryears activities. It’s so easy to turn on the TV or stare at a phone, but doing something like gardening or being creative to relax the mind is a huge benefit to managing stressors.
  • Friends and family. Having someone to help or laughing with people who bring you joy is a great way to relieve stress. 

How do you manage stress? Has it changed for you as you age?