Stress – the physical or mental response to something our brain perceives as a challenge or threat – is not always a bad thing. We feel “good stress” when we’re excited or take on a challenging but interesting project, and your body’s short-term (acute) response to stress can save your life if it helps you out of the way of a red car driver. mild;
What’s not good is chronic, unrelenting stress that develops in response to a prolonged stressor or series of acute stressors without enough recovery time in between. If you feel powerless with these stressors, you may go into shock. Certainly, more people have experienced chronic stress since early 2020. Health care workers are on the front lines. flight attendants. Parents juggling jobs and home schooling. Anyone who is feeling particularly isolated by the pandemic – or unable to stay away from TV news.
Chronic stress can contribute to many physical and mental health problems, including high blood pressure, depression, and anxiety. As a registered dietitian, I have watched the stress associated with the pandemic manifest in increased food and body concerns – including a higher rate of eating disorders, which can be fatal – among people of all ages and genders.
There are no easy solutions to get rid of chronic stress. When you feel like you’re sinking into stress—or getting a little brittle around the edges—a bubble bath or a glass of wine just won’t cut it (and relying on the latter can become an issue of its own). That’s why I want to share some books that have helped me and many of my clients.
The first isBurnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress CycleFor sisters Emily and Amelia Nagoski. This engaging book explains the difference between stressors – isolated and systemic – and stress itself, and what happens when you deal with stressors but not with stress. There are practical tips for completing the stress cycle – in other words, getting your body out of a state where its stress responses are stuck. In “Activation” mode. This is the book I would recommend to my female clients who are trying to do everything or have high-pressure jobs. If you like podcasts, I recommend the author interviews on “Ten Percent Happier” (January 5, 2020) and on Brené Brown’s” Unlocking Us” (October 14, 2020).
next is “Sticky: How to Befriend Your Nervous System Using Polyvagal TheoryDeep Dana. This is Dana’s first book not written for other therapists and doctors. The book begins by explaining our autonomic nervous system and how regulation of the vagus nerve, the body’s main “hyper-speed information pathway”, can help us return to feeling safe after exposure to stress. The book is rich With techniques you can use to understand it for you The nervous system and the formation of its reactions. Her recent interview on the “Insights at The Edge” podcast listened well (November 9, 2021).
finally, “Expand the Window: Training your brain and body to thrive during stress and recover from traumaby Elizabeth A. Stanley takes its name from the concept of expanding the ‘tolerance window’ for emphasis. If every little thing seems to send you into a fight, flight, or freeze mode, your tolerance window is likely too narrow. This book takes you exploring the many faces that Experiencing extreme stress and trauma — including how to dismiss or dismiss trauma — and then offers strategies for healing and expanding your own window. For the podcast, I suggest “Ten Percent Happier” (December 4, 2019) and “Insights at the Edge” (October 13, 2020). ).