How stress affects your body
If you think stress is invisible, think again. Stress actually affects your body and mind more than you ever imagined:
1. Hot flashes and the feeling like you’re broken out in a cold sweat.
Have you ever sat down to work and noticed your skin on your cheeks, back of your neck, legs and hands feeling clammy?When I’m overwhelmed, I’ll notice light sweating which I believed was just from running around. It comes even when I’m not running around, and when it does, I step away from whatever I am doing and go for a walk.If you can’t step away, focus on diaphragmatic breathing. The symptom is a result of over-taxing. Your body is viewing stress as a toxin and is trying to eliminate it.
2. Heart palpitations and out of control breathing.
The heart is one of the first organs in your body to notice when you’re overwhelmed. Whether you have heart disease or not, stress induces rapid heartbeats.An increased heart-rate when you’re not working out is not normal. You might notice heavy or incredibly shallow breathing.By this point, your brain and heart aren’t getting enough oxygen rich blood. Deep breathing and normal breathing are important for keeping your brain and body’s systems moving.
3. Cramping or pains in your joints (wrists, knees, and ankles).
If you’ve gone out to run those errands and notice cramping in your legs or knees, your body is sending you a signal that shouldn’t be ignored.My hips and knees cramp up if I’ve been on the move for too long. Our bodies have a way of warning or sending us signals to nurture it more. Balance is a key ingredient to sustaining optimal health and if your body is aching, it’s telling you to stop.
4. Hair thinning or hair loss.
Stress, especially chronic, can lead to hair thinning and hair loss. When you run your hands through your hair or push it behind your ears, you might have noticed loose strands in your fingers.Hair loss indicates overexertion as well. Only ten minutes or less of meditation in the mornings or the evenings can radically improve your stress levels.
5. When something comes up, you get light-headed.
You pencil a plan or an appointment in your schedule and suddenly feel a little off balance or wobbly, or worse, you feel a sense of dread or doom.Even if you’ve got something fun planned or a project coming up, you feel light-headed or like you need to sit.Affirmations can help if you’ve got a full calendar and are worrying about deadlines. Say things like, “I always figure things out. I’ve got this. Whatever the challenge is, I’ll meet it.”
Best 5 meditation apps to destress during the day
Now that you know how feeling overwhelmed can affect you, here are the resources that can help.Remember, though, that finding the right balance in your day-to-night life will radically transform your mental state. So, here are the five apps I’ve exclusively included that’ll ease your stress, anxiety and depression.
Aura is an app dedicated to making you more mindful. At a medical conference I recently attended, a physician introduced mindfulness this way:They dimmed the lights, told us to plant our feet on the ground, and focus on deep breaths.What’s nice about this app is it specifically addresses stress, anxiety and depression which studies show all work together and against you.Every day, this app will determine your current mood and then use that to assign different meditations. The app itself promotes calmness through its blue color.Another additional feature of the app is it prompts you to add what you’re grateful for. Overtime, gratitude will make you feel less stressed and more positive when it comes to tackling hefty tasks.Available for iOS | Android
Calm is another beautifully designed app that has peaceful backgrounds and is relaxing to look at.A series of meditations can range from ten to twenty minutes and it will allow you to develop a routine or daily practice.Upon opening the app, you can select something you’d like to immediately achieve such as reduce anxiety, improve focus, increase happiness, better sleep, and the app teaches you how to meditate.You can use it for free but if you subscribe, you’ll need to pay to have access to the full set of features.Available for iOS | Android
Headspace is free to use and the app goes in depth with meditation, describes why and how it works, and contains guided and unguided meditations.What’s nice about Headspace is it allows you to do mental health check-ins to prevent overwhelm from creeping in. Those appointments with yourself are crucial and bring awareness to your mental and emotional state.For me, Headspace inspires me to care and focus more on my psychological health and well-being.If you have depression and anxiety, it’s critical to manage your mental health daily.Available for iOS | Android
4. Food Planner
Stress and overwhelm can stem from feeling like there is no time to cook food and eat healthy. With a slammed schedule, which I always have, I’ve found this app to be quite helpful when it comes to planning simple recipes.My cooking routine is toss vegetables in a blender, dump them on a cookie tray, and roast everything in the oven. Meal preparation doesn’t have to take three hours, it can take only minutes.If you have a schedule that forces you to be on all the time, making time to eat right can seem impossible.Every Sunday or whatever day you have off or down time, plug simple meals into this app. It’s a lifesaver and puts these seemingly impossible tasks into perspective.Available for iOS | Android
YouTube can be used to ease feelings of overwhelm. I am only on YouTube to calm my stress and anxiety. My playlist consists of ocean waves, birds, and crickets, and instrumental music with nature sounds weaved throughout.On YouTube, you can access guided meditations and find breathing techniques that target emotional well-being. Breathing techniques are an excellent way to take control of anxiety.Here’s an example:www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vx8iUvfyCY&t=657s
All of these apps are perfect for managing depression and anxiety related to stress and overwhelm.When you’re overwhelmed, a part of your brain shuts down — the part that controls emotions. If you’re operating on high-stress all the time, you eventually won’t be able to function effectively or do your best work.Allow yourself moments of peace and quiet. Listen to your body’s desires for easing stress. A balanced schedule will create a positive difference both at your job and in your personal life.