Spring Cleaning: Slimming down the Stress | The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans LLC


I have decided enough is enough. I have allowed stress to rule my life and I am now saying NO MORE! I am weeding out the parts of my life that are not important to me in an attempt to make time for the parts that are. Or will be.

We over-exert ourselves on a daily basis. My stress level has been through the roof for the past 10 months or so. According to the American Psychological Association, I have been doing my body a severe disfavor:

When stress starts interfering with your ability to live a normal life for an extended period, it becomes even more dangerous. The longer the stress lasts, the worse it is for both your mind and body. You might feel fatigued, unable to concentrate or irritable for no good reason, for example. But chronic stress causes wear and tear on your body, too.

Stress can make existing problems worse.2 In one study, for example, about half the participants saw improvements in chronic headaches after learning how to stop the stress-producing habit of “catastrophizing,” or constantly thinking negative thoughts about their pain.3 Chronic stress may also cause disease, either because of changes in your body or the overeating, smoking and other bad habits people use to cope with stress. Job strain — high demands coupled with low decision-making latitude — is associated with increased risk of coronary disease, for example.4 Other forms of chronic stress, such as depression and low levels of social support, have also been implicated in increased cardiovascular risk. And once you’re sick, stress can also make it harder to recover. One analysis of past studies, for instance, suggests that cardiac patients with so-called “Type D” personalities — characterized by chronic distress — face higher risks of bad outcomes.5

Stress can affect the body negatively in many different ways, including

  • Musculoskeletal System —  Chronic stress causes the muscles in the body to be in a more or less constant state of guardedness. When muscles are taut and tense for long periods of time, this may trigger other reactions of the body and even promote stress-related disorders. For example, both tension-type headache and migraine headache are associated with chronic muscle tension in the area of the shoulders, neck and head.
  • Respiratory System — Stress can make you breathe harder. That’s not a problem for most people, but for those with asthma or a lung disease such as emphysema, getting the oxygen you need to breathe easier can be difficult.
  • Cardiovascular — Chronic stress, or a constant stress experienced over a prolonged period of time, can contribute to long-term problems for heart and blood vessels. The consistent and ongoing increase in heart rate, and the elevated levels of stress hormones and of blood pressure, can take a toll on the body. This long-term ongoing stress can increase the risk for hypertension, heart attack or stroke.
  • Endocrine — When cortisol and epinephrine are released, the liver produces more glucose, a blood sugar that would give you the energy for “fight or flight” in an emergency. For most of you, if you don’t use all of that extra energy, the body is able to reabsorb the blood sugar, even if you’re stressed again and again
  • Gastrointestinal — When you’re stressed, you may eat much more or much less than you usually do. If you eat more or different foods, or increase your use of alcohol or tobacco, you can experience heartburn or acid reflux. Stress can affect digestion, and what nutrients your intestines absorb. It can also affect how fast food moves through your body.
  • Nervous System — Chronic stress, experiencing stressors over a prolonged period of time, can result in a long-term drain on the body. As the sympathetic nervous system continues to trigger physical reactions, it causes a wear-and-tear on the body. It’s not so much what chronic stress does to the nervous system, but what continuous activation of the nervous system does to other bodily systems that become problematic.

I have made the decision to rearrange certain parts of my life so I can be a healthier, happier person. It can only benefit me in the long run.

{SOUND OFF] Do you have any Spring Cleaning goals?

(Visited 137 times, 1 visits today)

Melissa lives in beautiful Colorado with her favorite person in the whole world: her dog, Klondike. She’s an avid traveler, a wine enthusiast and an adventure junkie. She likes all things outdoors and tries to live a healthy lifestyle, except for when it comes to key lime pie — then it’s just game over.