By Mike Zaremba
1. Be Less Irritable
- As our stress levels increase or as we are chronically in a stressful (fight-or-flight) state our mind's ability to be easily triggered and reactive increases. We may say and think things that we normally wouldn't say or think if we were in a calmer state. Actively practicing stress management can allow us to be a "better" version of ourselves when dealing with others. It's often those closest to us who bare the brunt of this irritability as we are good at putting up "fronts" for others (co-workers, strangers, etc.), but once we are home it isn't uncommon for us to be snippy with those we love if we are in a chronically stressful state.
2. Be More Creative
- It is well-documented that heightened levels of creativity occur when we are in calmer frames of mind. When calm our dominant brainwave patterns slow down into a lower frequencies and this allows the brain to communicate with various regions of itself that does not occur at faster brainwave patterns. By shifting into calmer states we allow for nonlinear and more epiphanic creative insights to occur (we literally think outside the box). When we are chronically stressed our thinking literally becomes more narrow. Work smarter, not harder; hieghtened creativity is needed for this.
3. Better Immune Function
- When we are in a fight-or-flight state our bodies' systems prioritize mobilization not recovery. We need to save our bacon from whatever threat there is! (that's a good thing.) But when we are in prolonged state of stress or fight-flight, we don't allow for our healing and recovery to occur optimally. Allowing the nervous system to completely calm down is extremely important to maintain mental and physical health.
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4. Deeper Sleeps
- Deep sleep is absolutely critical for our well-being. Running in a chronic state of stress or anxiety can create light sleeps (not entering into deeper REM sleep) or interrupted sleeps or simply prevents us from falling asleep despite our exhaustion. A poor sleep then compounds the next day with more stimulants being taken, sugary foods being craved and the chronic stressful state continued. This is a vicious cycle that requires major stress management intervention to break. And on top of that our culture is always go-go-go, "if you're not being productive you're wasting time", or "time is money". These are brutal cultural conditionings that add emotional stress into the equation as well! Take the time, hit the pause button, and prioritize your self over the cultural norms to get this destructive pattern derailed. It may seem tolerable now, but the long term consequences may not be worth it.
5. Be Your Best for Others
- Being "selfish" to manage your own stress to allow you to be a more authentic version of yourself versus the edgy, exhausted, burned out, stressful version of You is probably much appreciated by those closest to you. Both for those at home or at work, you'll simply be more present, attentive, compassionate, passionate, energetic and helpful to those you need to be with. So manage that stress effectively, find the most potent way to do so in a wholistic and nourishing fashion, your tribe will appreciate that you do!
Mike Zaremba is a certified strength and conditioning specialist with a Masters degree in coaching. His interests include physical exercise, meditation, spiritual ceremonies, and yoga, which have led him to become one of the founders' of Float House, Vancouver's first commercial float centre in over 20 years, which started as a grass-roots project with his brother from Mike's 1-bedroom condo in North Vancouver, BC.