Those of you who have been following Motion Starved for a while will remember The GP-2011 Project. GP is a friend of mine who agreed to be my Guinea Pig (GP) for a few months last year. GP was asked to follow all the advice I posted on this site in an effort to see if in fact, my advice was actually beneficial. If you would like to read more about GP-2011 and our experiment I will list the relative posts at the bottom of this page. I can say however, that our mission was successful.
With that… I have asked GP to send us a little guest post relative to her life today. Here is what GP-2011 has to say about stress (which she knows a shitload about!)
GP-2011, Guest Post – for Motion Starved…
When the going gets tough, the tough turn to cookie dough.*
*And other bad ways to deal with stress.
When was the last time you were totally stressed out? Yesterday? Last week? Maybe you’re a great big ball of stress right now, grinding your teeth as you stare at your computer. Stress is a fact of modern life—you can’t avoid it. Sometimes the stress isn’t quite so major: Your computer crashes—and you haven’t backed it up, in, oh, a year. You race back to your car to find the Parking Nazi scrawling a ticket. Or you forgot to attend an important meeting at work. But sometimes stress is a big deal: Your “routine” visit to your doctor turns out to be not quite “routine.” Your partner loses his/her job. Or your child is in trouble at school.
When life slaps you in the face, it wallops your whole body. In fact, when it comes to your health, stress—big or small—is downright dangerous. Stress can cause serious sleep problems, fatigue, stomach upsets, headaches, anxiety, irritability, weight loss, weight gain, hair loss (yikes!) and feelings of sadness or loneliness. Over time, your blood pressure rises, your heart rate increases, your immune system takes a hit, glucose floods your bloodstream and your digestive functions suffer, all of which can lead to chronic illness.
You can’t avoid life’s ups and downs. But it’s how you deal with stress that can make all the difference.
Bad Ways to Deal with Stress:
- Make a big batch of chocolate chip cookies and eat the dough—salmonella be damned.
- Drink a whole bottle of Chianti. Alone.
- Hole up in bed for a few days watching a Real Housewives marathon.
- Invite your new best friends Ben & Jerry over for the 3rd night in a row instead of meeting up with real friends.
- Pretend everything’s ok and cry into your pillow.
- Watch QVC from 2:00-3:30 a.m. and order stuff you don’t need like a Slap-Chop, or limited edition Snuggie.
- Get a dramatic new haircut. (Trust me, this is never a good idea.)
- Having more Chianti and posting messages on your ex’s Facebook page.
These are the things I used to do to deal with stress. The ‘old me’ would run straight to the fridge to find comfort—“Hello, Ben? Jerry? You in there?” But the ‘new me’ knows that there are better ways to deal with stress than cookie dough and Chianti. When life slaps you in the face, hit back. Hard. Instead of curling up into a ball clutching a bag of potato chips, lace up your sneakers and get a sweat going. Eliminate all that anxiety from your system by moving your body.
According to our friends at the Mayo Clinic, one of the easiest and most effective ways to combat the negative effects of stress is to exercise. It only took me 40-something years to figure this out for myself, but it works. Simply moving your body kick starts the process of beating back stress. Whether you go for a hike with a good friend, hit the gym, play a game of tennis, go for a run, or even take a walk around the neighborhood, you’ll be doing your body—and mind—a huge favor.
Here’s all the good a little exercise can do for you:
- Pumps up those feel-good endorphins
- Pumps up those feel-good endorphins
- Boosts your mood
- Makes you feel more confident and in control of your life
- Improves your sleep
- Enhances your sex life (!)
- Helps you relax
- Improves your overall health
- Keeps your immune system in tip-top shape
- Helps you focus on something other than your problems
Better still, if you can find a way to make exercise a habit, the next time life slaps you in the face, you’ll be able to shake off the stress that much easier. What ever you do, when the going gets tough, don’t turn to cookie dough to make yourself feel better. When that button from your too-tight jeans goes flying across the room, and you’ve busted out of your pants on a date, you’ll feel even more stressed out. Not that this has ever happened to me, or anything…