#287 Managing Stress When You Don't Think You're Stressed

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When it seems like the world is going mad, and everywhere you look is sadness, anger and aggression, do you realize how much stress that creates for your body? 

Do you understand how much stress can impact your health? 

On this week’s Tuesday Terrain Talk we’ll talk about  

-How environmental circumstances add to your stress levels 

-How to know when your body is experiencing stress 

-Questions you can ask yourself to come to terms with your circumstances 

-And two gentle practices that release stress and increase compassion in your life. 

Listen now, take a breath with me and show yourself the love you want to put out into the world. 

Referred to in this episode: 

Better than Before Breast Cancer Life Coaching Membership 


Read the full transcript below:

Laura Lummer 0:00
You're listening to the breast cancer recovery coach podcast. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. I'm a Certified Life health and nutrition coach, and I'm also a breast cancer thriver. If you're trying to figure out how to move past the trauma and the emotional toll of breast cancer, you've come to the right place. In this podcast, I will give you the tools and the insights to create a life that's even better than before breast cancer. Well, let's get started.

Laura Lummer 0:32
Hey, friends, welcome to episode 287 have better than before breast cancer with me, Laura Lummer, the breast cancer recovery coach. You know, today, as often happens, I have one show planned that I was going to do. And over the last couple of days, as I worked on the outline, there's been a lot of things that have come up in my coaching calls my membership calls in the world in general. And as I sat down to record this, I really felt the motivation to talk about something else. Something else that still has everything to do with our Tuesday terrain, talk everything to do with supporting the health of your body and your metabolism. And really everything to do with a lot that's going on in the world today. So the episode I originally planned, you're gonna hear next week, but I just thought is very important to address something today, hopefully bring our stress levels down a little bit. Spread a little bit of love here. So an interesting question came up this weekend in one of my coaching calls in the membership called, and one of my members said, she realized that stress was an area that she needed to work on. And we had an interesting conversation about how do you work on stress when you don't feel stressed. And this came up, because in our membership, this month, we're working on metabolic health. And one of the tools to work on metabolic health is going through the train 10 assessment and getting an idea of which of those train 10 buckets you score really high in. And as I think I've talked about before on the show, it's interesting how people might think that their health needs attention in one aspect, when it really comes down to being rooted in something else. Like for instance, if you have an upset stomach, you have a lot of digestive issues, people think that that's going to have something to do with their diet. And a lot of times that has to do with stress, or that has to do with their sleep habits. And it's in correcting these other subtleties that the bigger picture or where the symptom is showing up can experience a lot of correction. And that's an important thing to realize. Because right now, I think we could all agree, there's a hell of a lot of stress going on in the world. We have busy lives already. And now we have a lot of conflict. And we been going through a lot of conflict for the last couple of years, there's a lot of angry, intense energy in the world, there's a lot of fear in the world, fear of saying the wrong thing or being judged the wrong way. And you may not even realize it, but it creates this low chronic constant vibration of stress in our bodies. So I want to talk today about stress in particular, because it has a tremendous impact on our health. And in fact, I want to read you something that I think is points this out and makes that makes the case perfectly. This is from the wellness psychology blog. And it's talking about some of the most common causes of chronic stress, because we all are gonna go through stress in our lives. And in fact, some stresses actually called us stress, which is helpful kinds of stress. And that would be like, we have a deadline. So you gotta get something done, or you have a project that you want to complete. So you feel the pressure to get it done within a deadline. But it's short lived stress, and it ends up creating something that's productive. And so it's actually kind of a healthy way of experiencing stress. But on the other side of that is chronic stress. And chronic stress has a huge impact on our health and our wellness. And there's evidence to show that it may have an impact on cancer as well. So here are some of the most common causes of chronic stress, pressure at work, money, health issues, relationships, poor diet, media influences, and sleep disorders, which I think is interesting because I think if you have pressure at work, money issues, relationship issues and a poor diet, you're going to have sleep disorders. If you're spending a lot of time on media, depending on what you're looking at, if you're watching the news in very troubling times. That's going to create definitely sleep disorders and health issues and obviously Poor diet is going to lead to health issues. So we can see that these different stressors, stressors are very integrated. But I think it's important to stop for a sec and ask yourself, How do you know when you're stressed? How do you know if you're experiencing stress? Like the question I posed a couple of minutes ago? How do you work on lowering stress in your life, when you don't think you are stressed. And I think that that really makes us come back, slow down, and create space to connect to ourselves, it's really important that we have the space to tune into what our body is experiencing, to know if we're under stress. So let me tell you from the same blog, some of the physical symptoms that are associated with the sources of stress that I described, and see if you can relate to these. Some of these things are general aches and pains. Now, maybe you wouldn't think that you would have general aches and pains because you're stressed or you're chronically stressed, or you're experiencing low level of chronic stress, exhaustion and fatigue. And I'm going to go into that in a minute. Why would stress cause exhaustion and fatigue, headaches, high blood pressure, and muscle tension, sexual dysfunction. And it also can cause issues with our immune system. And this is where it comes into playing a role in cancer. In fact, this city of hope, which most of us are familiar with that name, major cancer center, has published an article that says that research suggests that chronic stress can actually make cancer spread faster. And this is a quote from that article. It says stress can speed up the spread of cancer throughout the body, especially in ovarian breast and colorectal cancer. When the body becomes stressed, neurotransmitters like norepinephrine, are released, which stimulate cancer cells. And that stimulation can help cancer cells evade death, expand and adjust to new environments in the body, allowing them to grow in new places. Chronic stress also weakens the immune system, which is further weakened by cancer treatment. And a weakened immune system increases susceptibility to disease and infection. Chronic stress can also lead to depression and anxiety, a poor outlook on life can take a toll on the body and the mind. And people with anxiety and depression sometimes manage stress poorly, by engaging in unhealthy behaviors. So this takes us back to poor diet, right? So unhealthy behaviors like managing stress by drinking, smoking or overeating. So let's go back again and touch on how do you know if you're experiencing stress. Because when you get used to a life, that is a busy life, has a lot of demands, children, jobs, relationships, activities, even if they're good demands, it creates a level of stress in the body. And when we keep that level of stress, at a certain height, at a certain vibration in our body for a long period of time, we become kind of used to it. And then we may notice things in our body like general aches and pains and not relate the two. So how do you know if you're experiencing stress when you don't think you are? This was a major problem for me. I know, with the work that I've done now, looking back in at the times when I was diagnosed with cancer, I can see major stressful events in my life. And even though I thought I was managing that stress really well, I really believe it was a major contributor to both of my diagnoses. I don't think maybe that I was managing it as well as I thought I was managing it. And I think that just having that stress in my life for a long period of time was very hard on me, if I think back to it, I can recall certain physical symptoms that showed up, that I just kind of relegated to that's just normal because everything is busy, right? But if we take the time to slow down, as I do on a daily basis, now, if we take the time to slow down, and really connect to our body, and we start to notice, I'm feeling exhausted, I'm feeling really fatigued. I'm having trouble sleeping. I have a lot of aches and pains, and we've checked out other things to make sure it's nothing serious. I have high blood pressure, I have muscle tension, things feel tight, I feel anxious, right? I have low libido. All of these things can play a role. And when we notice them, and we don't see a really tangible reason, right? We're not having a cancer recurrence. We don't have some kind of autoimmune disease, but we're experiencing these things in our bodies. Maybe it's a good idea to open our mind to the thought that it might be stress that maybe I need to slow down a little bit And that's what I want to talk about. What do you do? When the world is kind of going out of control? When there's a level of stress around you maybe really high, maybe kind of just mediocre, maybe low level, but definitely constant. What do you do? How can you take care of yourself and manage stress, when you don't have any control around the events that are causing this stress? Right. And I think that's the trick question. We think that it's events that cause the stress. And I want to share with you something that we worked on recently, in my life coaching membership, because I think it's very important, especially right now, when there is so much going on, when we really do as human beings need some additional support, needs some additional care, some gentleness, some time for ourselves, and a way to really express the things that we're concerned about, but also a way to take good care of ourselves and not feel like we're checked out. Right, we want to have a balance, there are things we can control, there are things we cannot control. But how much energy do you put into thinking about the things that you cannot control. And this is one of the things that we worked on in our membership. So here's the difference between putting energy into something which can result in exhaustion. So we looked at some of the symptoms of stress, and one of them was fatigue, and exhaustion. Everything we do takes energy, we know that physical movement takes energy, right, if you have a big, physically demanding thing to do, if you're going to go exercise, you're going to do an hour of cardio, you know, that takes energy, right. And you'll do it and you'll feel whatever you feel depending on what shape you're in. But many times, we don't give weight to psychological, emotional, mental energy. And it is a powerful thing. So let's think about willpower. Willpower takes energy, we know that people have less willpower at the end of the day, because they've had to make many decisions throughout the day. And so we think of our brain like this little generator, it only has so much energy, and it needs time to recharge. So when we're in places where or in situations or circumstances where we're directing a tremendous amount of mental energy into thinking becomes very exhausting. Now that thinking could be positive, right? It could be you're working on a project, it could be you're creating something, it takes a lot of energy. Or it could be that you're being bombarded with lots of information. And then you're taking that information, and you're putting a lot of energy into thinking about it. Okay, so here's the difference, I hear a story, I take that story. And I just think about it and think about it and ruminate on it. I put a lot of mental energy into a story. And the thoughts I have about it are creating sadness, anxiety, worry. And those in themselves are going to be exhausting. So what do you do? And how do you take care of yourself in these situations, and I want to give you a couple of tips, because it is so absolutely critical. Right? If we are we're empathetic, compassionate people. And we want to spread love, we want to spread support, we don't want to see other people's suffering, we don't want to hear about other people's suffering. And we we really do have a desire to stop that when we can. And in a lot of situations, we can't. So we can sit there and understand situations where we have no power, no control, we can put a tremendous amount of thought energy into thinking about those situations. And as a result of that, we can create a lot of physical health problems for ourselves. So we're not doing anybody any favors. So in the constant pursuit of self care, we have to really take time to step back and look at what we're thinking about. How much energy are we putting into thinking about things that are creating feelings of stress and affecting our physical health? versus how many times do we see information come up, or we have thoughts that definitely are stressful that definitely are troubling. And we observe the fact that this information is really troubling. When I hear this information, when I see these things, I feel upset, I feel negative emotions, I feel worried, I feel concerned. And if I put a lot of energy into thinking about them, I start losing sleep. I started having gastrointestinal issues, lots of things can go wrong, my blood pressure goes up. I feel anxious. Maybe you feel like that skin crawling kind of energy about you. These are stressors, right? So There's a few questions that I think are important to ask yourself, when this begins to happen. When you find yourself in a situation where you think I think I'm in, I'm experiencing stress, because there are a lot of stressors going on, and this is becoming a chronic situation.

Laura Lummer 15:16
And one of those questions is, is there anything that you can do about the situation that is stressing you out? Do you have any power whatsoever, that's a really important thing to do. Because if you're putting a lot of thought energy, into a circumstance that you have zero control over, you are going to make yourself sick. And it's going to be a very exhausting experience, because there's no solution. There's nothing you can do, there's no way to make yourself feel better about it. And I don't mean feel good. Like when there's tragic things happening in the world, we don't want to feel good about it. But we also have to walk that very fine line of not allowing it to make ourselves sick as well, because that doesn't serve anybody. Right. So one question is, is there anything you can do about a situation that you're putting a lot of thought, energy and worry into? This could be your own situation, this could be a breast cancer diagnosis, this could be health concerns, this could be community concerns, family concerns, global concerns, but anything at all? What power do you have? And I highly suggest a thought download, you know, really getting all those thoughts out of your mind and understanding the truth of what you can do of where your power is, in any situation, where you're feeling stress. And then once you see what those options are, whether any options exist, then do you have the capacity to take that action? If you look at a situation, and you see there are 10 different things that I can do right now, to make a difference towards this thing that I'm really upset about? Or concerned about? Or it's weighing heavily on me and creating stress? What is your capacity? Can you actually take something else on, because a lot of times we do want to take something else on and we don't have the energy to do it. Adding something else on would actually increase your level of stress, it would actually take away even more time from taking care of yourself, and could potentially have a huge impact on your immune system. So do you have the capacity, whether it's physical energy, mental energy, financial resources, any kind of resource necessary? Do you truly have the capacity? It's important to look at this very realistically. So that the stories we're telling ourselves about what we should be doing and what we could be doing, come back and become facts? What are the actual facts? are there options? If there are options? Do you have the capacity to take any kind of action with those options? Then a third question, if you do have the capacity, do you have the willingness? Because sometimes you may be able to do something, but you really aren't willing to do it. For whatever that reason might be. There's just not a willingness there. And if that's the case, it's really important that you understand because then you're going to find yourself in a lot of resistance. If you're saying there's something I could do I have the capacity to do it, I shouldn't be doing it, you're going to be fighting against yourself. There's a lot of resistance, right? Fighting like why am I not doing this, I shouldn't be doing this. But I think that when we step back, and we look at why we're not doing something, and we can drop that resistance and open our mind and see the underneath it, that maybe you believe or you know that it is going to have some kind of a detrimental impact. Or there's some kind of emotion that's so powerful and so uncomfortable, that you don't know how to process it, should you step into that situation. And again, this can be any situation write anything at all, but you realize you're putting a tremendous amount of thought energy into it. That thought energy is leaving you feeling worried, sick, concerned, and having physical symptoms show up in your body, right, it's having a physical effect on you. So getting to the root of that, by slowing down by saying no to certain things and creating space for yourself, by making sure especially when there are times of heightened activities in the world, around you in the world that creates stress that are emotionally disturbing and troubling. It's imperative that you take quiet time to take care of yourself, to check in with yourself. And not only to give yourself love, but to step into spreading a little bit more love where you can. When we get really absorbed into emotionally stressful situations. And we're experiencing a lot of stress in our body. We may not even be aware of it because we're not checking in with ourselves, we have a tendency to snap at other people, we have a tendency to be emotionally short, we have a tendency to be very judgmental, even of ourselves. And all of these things do not serve our health, they truly have a major impact on our health. So as much energy as we put into what should we eat, and how should we exercise, what foods and what diets, it is equally, if not even more important that we put some energy into awareness about what is happening in our lives, and about what level of stress is affecting us on a daily basis, we may have to limit our time exposing ourselves to media. Remember, one of the things that I said was one of the most common causes of stress is media exposure. So whether that is social media, where there are times when you can see a tremendous amount of really unproductive comments, a lot of hate a lot of anger, you may need to increase your awareness of that and step back a little bit. Really monitor what you allow your brain to absorb to come into a notice. How do you feel when you see certain things? What is your body? How is your body reacting? What's the sensations you're experiencing in your body, when you see certain things I know for me if I'm on social media, and I start seeing people just going at each other without any desire, even to find a solution and something but really just to say nasty things. I mean, I'm out I will unfollow accounts right and left, when I see things that just have zero productivity going on, right? They're just out there to spread a negative emotions. And I'm just not available for that, right. And I hope that you're not also. So again, especially in times when there's so much of that going on, I understand the need for people to be informed and want to stay informed. And that's not a bad thing. But noticing for yourself, what that means to you. And how that is affecting your health is a very important thing. Okay, so we have to really increase the awareness of that stress is a major bucket in the terrain 10 buckets of things that affect your metabolic health. So I want to just put a little challenge out there for you for the rest of the week, a gentle challenge not to add more stress. And here's another thing, when we talk about stress, and we talk about stressors and the impact of stressors, then do you start thinking about that too much and stress yourself out over being stressed out, right, it can become a vicious circle. And this is the lesson that I was referring to earlier, notice when you're putting a lot of energy into constantly thinking about something, okay. And if those thoughts are just constantly you're thinking about this negative thing, and you're just going into it deeper and deeper and deeper, you have the option to pull yourself out by taking a little step back and observing and noticing while my brain keeps going back to this thing, my brain keeps going back to thoughts of this thing. And I need to pull my brain back to me. One very simple and very powerful way to do that, that I don't believe will cause you more stress is to make sure that you take time to just connect to your breath on a daily basis. Even if it's just for five minutes, even as you pull up to work, or you come home from work or the first thing when you wake up in the morning, five minutes of just sitting to connect with your breath, a breath will always bring us back to the present moment, because our breath is happening in this moment. And when we take that breath in deep, and we oxygenate our body, we release a lot. We sue the body, we relax the body. But more than that, we come into our own bodies, and we start to notice what's actually happening and what we're experiencing. So the gentle challenge that I would like to present for you is just one of self care. Can you block out five minutes a day, every day for yourself, to just sit in silence, to just connect to your breath, maybe just have a quiet cup of tea or coffee with yourself. But to just step back a little bit and start to notice what's going on in your body. So you become more aware of where these low level or even high level chronic stressors could be affecting your health so that you can see what you can do about it. Now a very common tendency people have during high levels of stress is to withdraw. So I'll offer you a second gentle challenge. If you'd like to take this on. And that is mega point, a very intentional point of doing a kindness, a random act of kindness for someone every single day. Because when we put ourselves out there, when we connect when we do something for someone else, when we feel we are of service in the world in even just the tiniest way. And that means by complimenting someone on their hair, or the color of the shirt, they're wearing just a sweet, gentle kindness allows us to connect to another person. And the it's better to give than to receive is really true. So it helps you to feel good, it helps you to feel better. Whereas when we withdraw and isolate, we're social creatures. And it actually can draw us more into fear and anxiety and worry. So at times, when things can seem very chaotic out there, try to make a point of connecting with someone you love on a daily basis of doing a random act of kindness for someone every single day. Right. So two options for you take them both on if you'd like to. But be very mindful of the fact that stress is a metabolic health factor. And before you can address stressors in your life, you have to be aware that you're actually feeling stressed. All right. So take some time for yourself. And notice where you're at, and give yourself a little kindness and a little space. And if you need extra support. If you need help with working through this and understanding how to support yourself in times of high stress, how to manage stress more effectively, how to even notice stress more effectively, come and join me in the better than before breast cancer live coaching membership, because this is what coaching is all about. This is what life coaching is all about helping us to understand how the things we're thinking and what we're exposing ourselves to are affecting our lives, our health and creating the results that we're living in. Hopefully you like a lot of those results that you're creating. But for the ones that you don't like, we all need support all the time. I'm a huge advocate of coaching of counseling in whatever capacity you find that works for you. But I am 100% confident that my life coaching membership can give you the support you need and help you create a life that really and truly is better than before breast cancer. All right. Take a deep breath in.

Laura Lummer 27:15
Take care of yourself. I'll talk to you soon.



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