10 Ways to Stop a Physical Reaction to Stress

Day 4: 10 Ways to Stop a Physical Reaction to Stress

10 Ways to Stop a Physical Reaction to Stress

If you want to follow along in my 30 day challenge be sure to check out the 30 Days to Peace: How to Minimize Strife & Enjoy Your Life. 

Sometimes conflict and stress in your life can create a physical reaction in your body. For months I have been dealing with intense stress, my body began to react to that stress mid-October. I’ve been through a lot physically since then that led to a 30 pound weight loss, unexplainable pain and panic attacks.

A panic attack is described as “a sudden feeling of acute and disabling anxiety.” Panic attacks stink. That’s all there is to it. I’ve made major lifestyle changes to keep the pain and the panic attacks under control and in an effort to keep with complete honesty, I do take medication for them as well.

Today’s post is for not just for those of you dealing with panic attacks but also for those of you dealing with intense stress. Stress does affect your body whether you realize it or not. I cannot tell you how much I wish I would have made some of these lifestyle changes  in the beginning, when I knew the stress was coming. My pastor told me upfront to prepare my body but I dismissed it thinking that was crazy, obviously it was not.

So, if you are going through a stressful situation in life or you know you are about to go through something, please take these tips to heart. Your body is a temple, treat it like one or it might just fall a part.

10 Ways to Stop a Physical Reaction to Stress

*Random Obvious Note: I’m not a doctor, I’m a human being dealing with stress, I am only giving you this advice from my own personal experience. Please contact your doctor if you are having physical pain, panic attacks or other physical issues.*

1. Eat Right: I’m serious as in, fruits, vegetables and stuff like that. If you’re eating cheeseburgers everyday then your body will not have the nutrients and the energy it needs to take on stress. I was told this 100x’s but did not listen.

Do you know what I eat now? My body went through such a radical change and ordeal that the only foods I can handle digesting without intense pain is chicken, potatoes, carrots, cantaloupe, bananas and a gluten free toast with a dairy free butter. That’s it. I’m not eating cheeseburgers, Oreos, ice cream or any of those go-to stress foods that people normally reach for during these times, I can’t. If I eat that, I’ll end up in a hospital, it’s that simple.

Prepare your body and eat right.

2. Exercise: You’re getting annoyed with this list aren’t you? Yep, I can feel it. You’ve heard this before and if I were on TV telling you this, you would turn the channel. I get that, I would do the same thing. In fact, I did. But again, your body has to physically be ready to handle stress and if you’re not exercising, you’ll find yourself ordered by a doctor to do so when you leave the hospital for having a stress breakdown.

3. Get Out: If a stressful situation occurs such as, you get a phone call or an e-mail that is intense, go outside. Even though it’s freezing right now, going outside and breathing fresh air will help calm the stress and could stop a panic attack. Try to calm down prevent hyperventilation, get outside and breathe.

My doctor told me once to start singing, he said if I could sing then I would know my lungs were working properly and it would calm my body down. Remember, if you’re having a true panic attack or actually hyperventilating, you start feeling as though you’re going to die, the trick is getting your mind to realize that you’re not.

4. Call Someone: This was a trick I learned from my mom, call someone and start talking normally. Don’t call someone and “vent” or complain or whatever, that’s going to make it worse and likely you’ll both be upset. Call someone and see how they’re doing, engage in a normal conversation and let your body slow down. The distraction of a normal conversation will bring peace to your body.

5. Be Ready to Beat It: Get your mind in order and get ready to beat the panic. What does that mean? It means, you have to speak peace and make a very conscious choice to not let the panic or the stress beat you. In a sense, you have to retrain your mind. Remember, you don’t have to think every single thought that drops into your head! You can say “NO!” Get ready, when the panic hits, say “NO! You’re not going to take me out today!”

I’m serious, who cares if you look crazy, you gotta talk to that thing! Tell the panic to go and guess what? It will.

6. Confide in Someone: Find someone close to you that you can confide in and have them check on you. Make sure it’s someone who isn’t going to blab about your condition in the break room. No one needs that. If it’s a family member, ask them to call you once a day or let them be your emergency contact if you’re having a hard time beating it. Since my condition has elevated, before I go anywhere, I have to know where the nearest hospital is located also, if I’m at a store, restaurant, etc., I have to know where the nearest exits are located. There are certain things that I just have to know in order to stay calm especially when in public.

7. Get Rid of What You Can Get Rid Of: Sometimes panic attacks and/or stress is triggered by things that can be removed. There are some people that flat out do not need to be in your life and if you can make some life changes and stop hanging out with that person, you might find peace. Simple changes like finding new friends could open up a whole new world.

If you can’t get rid of the triggers, you have to retrain how you respond. If it’s a person, remember what my pastor told me, “always take the high road.” It’s not an easy road and you’ll naturally want to defend yourself but let God defend you, let your character speak for itself.

8. Start a Journal: I have tons and tons of journals, I’ve been writing in them since I was a child and I just never stopped. Let me go a step further and say, a blog is NOT a journal. A lot of people start blogs and act as though it is an online diary. They then post their side of their situation and in turn cause a lot of pain for other people and I don’t think that is ok. If you have a real situation going on, grab a journal that is private and start writing, you know, with a pen and a piece of paper.

Personally, I write prayers in mine. In fact, all of my journals are prayers between God and myself. It is interesting to go back and read those prayers and see what God has done in my life. Just the act of writing will help you “vent” or “get it out” rather than posting 1001 facebook status updates for everyone else to read. Vent to God in a journal and let him handle it.

9. Turn Up the Music: When I was 16, I used to roll down my windows and turn up the volume. Of course, I was blasting out DC Talk back then and probably looked rather obnoxious but I certainly did feel better after doing it! Now, I really don’t care what I look like, I turn up the praise and worship music and dance. If you’re in your house, get your kids and have them dance with you too. Praise God and your body will relax. I promise. Get excited about it, get your kids involved and you’ll relax even more. Aside from that, you’ll be creating memories with your children too.

10. Make a Choice: Choose to not let stress and/or panic control you. I have to make this choice daily before I even get out of bed. I literally tell myself, “No matter what happens today, I will not let stress control my life. Thank you, God, for giving me enough grace to make it through today.” It might sound crazy but I have to make that choice or it will consume me. I have to make the choice to live the life God has given me to the best of my ability.

If you deal with panic attacks, please know you’re not alone and it does not make you less of a believer or person for dealing with them. God is bigger than a panic attack and through prayer and peace, you and I both will overcome.

If you want to follow along in my 30 day challenge be sure to check out the 30 Days to Peace: How to Minimize Strife & Enjoy Your Life. 

30 Days to Peace #Peace

  • Anna Marie Penix
    Posted at 19:28h, 05 February Reply

    These are GREAT, very practical tips! Another thing that helped me cut them off at the pass was to realize that if a panic attack did come, it would not last long, and I would be ok when it was over. Even tho I would feel very panicked and uncomfortable, I just had to ride it out. Sometimes, reminding myself of that early on would keep it from actually happening. I, too, find that talking excessively, whether happy or mad, can bring one on. Trying to keep an even keel and let others do the talking helps me. Going outside is another great one that you mentioned! Thanks for sharing these…I am sure they will help others.

    • Sarah Roe
      Posted at 22:36h, 05 February Reply

      Thank you, Anna Marie!

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