Picture it: You’re in back-to-back meetings and can barely scarf down a salad at your desk for lunch, you needed to find a new apartment like yesterday; oh, and your honey’s surprise bday party is Saturday. Bam! Your stress level is through the roof.
“When you’re stressed, cortisol and adrenaline start flooding your blood stream,” says Judith Orloff, M.D., assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA, and author of Positive Energy . “These hormones cause blood vessels to constrict and muscles to tighten, and they decrease your immunity — all of which puts you on a high alert.” So basically, you turn into Super You. “It’s this combination that allows you to run away from a tiger in the jungle or grab a child in danger out of the street — it’s like natural speed,” says Orloff. Sounds great, right? Why wouldn’t you want to be You 2.0, running from jungle cats and saving people 24/7? Two words: Burn. Out.
“Your body also needs its endorphins and relaxation response,” says Orloff. “Endorphins are the blissful neurochemicals that are released when you are happy and not stressed.” Bottom line: you’ve got to find that stress sweet spot, where it happens here and there but you also know how to keep calm and carrying on. “There’s good and bad stress,” says Orloff. “A tiny bit of anxiety can keep you on your toes and give you a bit of a biological boost.” But if you’re chronically a hot mess, then you never have enough endorphins, you’re constantly on edge, and you’re always exactly that: a hot mess.
Next time your boss sends you an ALL CAPS email, your 4-inch heel snaps as you're running for the subway, or your brand-new iPhone shatters into a gazillion pieces, try one of these simple tricks to tap into your inner Zen.
Photo: Via Dolce and Gabbana
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