Early this morning, I spent two hours on Skype sorting out some issues with my developers in India and a potential customer in Sweden. They were good calls, but I could feel stress build up in me. My muscles became tense and my mind irritated. I recognized the signs. And I knew if I allowed the stress to build up, it would eat me for lunch. I decided to deal with it before it took hold.
Daily stress in life can throw us off balance for sure. Constant, prolonged and excessive stress can upset our physical systems and cause emotional distress, especially during the time of PMS.
Since stress is a part of modern life, we can’t eliminate it completely and live in a stress-free environment. Often we don’t have control over external causes such as work challenges, relationship difficulties, financial problems, and major life changes. We can, however, learn to manage stress effectively and reduce its negative effects on our physical and emotional well-being.
Below are a few things I have learned over the years:
Recognize early signs
We know the signs. Our body and mind are generally pretty good at telling us. But we sometimes – if not often – try to ignore them. Wrong decision. If we allow the stress to build up, it may blow up later on like an uncontrollable volcano. It is so important to recognize the early signs, take breaks and decompress right away. Step outside, go for a walk, jump up and down, whatever works for you.
Deep abdomen breathing is a proven technique to relax us and rejuvenate us at the same time. Put your hands on your abdomen, inhale slowly and deeply through your nostrils, allowing air to fill up your abdomen, causing your hand to rise. Hold the breath for a second, then slowly exhale through your mouth, making a quiet whooshing sound, causing your abdomen to empty. Practice this for three to five minutes. You will feel calmer and more relaxed right away.
Stress can also be self-generated. Internal causes of stress include the inability to accept uncertainty, pessimism, unrealistic expectations, and perfectionism. We can talk ourselves into stress. We can certainly talk ourselves out of it too. “Take it easy,“ It’s going to be all right,” are some of the pep talks I use to get myself out of stress, since I sometimes have a perfectionist tendency.
PMS can sensitize our stress tolerance and exacerbate our stress response a hundred fold. It can cause so much physical and emotional pain, adversely affect our work and relationships, and turn our lives upside down. So it’s important to be aware and try to take steps to alleviate or at least manage the suffering we women endure.