Stress Triggers: How to Identify Them and Deal with Them | Ashley Varner
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How to Identify Your Stress Triggers

Stress Triggers: How to Identify Them and Deal with Them

Do you know what your stress triggers are? Most people don’t know that there are two different types of triggers. So in this post, I’m going to share the difference in the two different types of triggers AND how we can start moving past those. I want you to know how you can deal with the things that cause you stress so that you can finally have peace in your every day life.

Recently, I talked about how to have peace of mind. I shared that the trick to having peace of mind is really knowing that it involves Someone greater than us. Along those lines, I want to give some more practical tips on having peace.

Most of us struggle with stress, and that stress is what ends up causing fear and anxiety for us. It really robs us of our peace.

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The two types of stress triggers

There are two types of stress triggers.

The Big Stress Triggers

The first are those big stressors in life. We hear about these all the time.

The death of a loved one.

A divorce.

The loss of a job.

Even getting married is a big stressor. The list is endless. Things like moving to a new home, dealing with a chronic illness, having family problems, taking care of an elderly parent.

Those are the big stressors in life, and there’s usually not much we can do to combat those things when they happen. But there are daily things that trigger stress that you 100% have control over.

Daily Stressors

Many of these daily stressors aren’t really things that we can change because they’re part of our every day life, but there are things that we can do to alleviate those things.

First, I want to talk to you about the reason why we’re trying to get rid of the stress. We know that big stress causes us to get into “fight or flight mode.”

The problem with chronic stress is our bodies end up in a constant state of fight or flight. We’re always in this heightened state, so it starts to take an effect on our bodies.

Chronic stress doesn’t have to be huge stressors like the death of a loved one, but the daily stress that comes into our lives that we’re going to talk about today has a huge impact on your health.

How to figure out what your stress triggers are so you can deal with them. | Health God's Way | AshleyVarner.com

The Affects of Stress on the Body

Here are some of the physical damage that stress causes:

  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • anxiety
  • irritability
  • anger
  • panic disorders
  • tension in the jaw
  • grinding teeth
  • chronic fatigue
  • increased heart rate
  • stroke
  • heart disease
  • hypertension
  • diabetes type I or II
  • digestive disorders
  • upset stomach
  • abdominal pain
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • weight gain
  • weight loss
  • muscle tension
  • lack of energy
  • depression
  • nervousness
  • increase in addictive behaviors.

There are so many way that stress can affect the body. That’s why we need to learn how to deal with it properly.

 

Stress Triggers: How Stress Affects Your Body

The Lord gave us this one body to live in during this life that we have here, so we have to take care of it. 

Recently, I dealt with the stress in my life. I was in a heightened state of stress almost all the time.

After several weeks of being super sick, I went to the doctor, and the answer I got was suprpising.

He said because I had so much stress and I wasn’t dealing with it properly, it was causing all these other issues. I have some autoimmune issues, and my stress was really causing those things to flare up. The stress in my life was exaggerating those physical symptoms.

So what kind of daily stress am I talking about?

Stress Triggers start with Sensory Overload

In no time ever before has there been so much information coming at us as there is in this age.

I remember as a child, my parents purchasing one of those encyclopedia collections, so we had all these encyclopedias were sitting on a shelf. Volumes A through Z.

The thought went through my mind, “Wow, that is so much information.”

Now, in this time, we have more information available at the tips of our fingers and that information is changing so quickly and education is growing so rapidly that it’s easy to get in this overload of information.

We have news at the tips of our fingers. We have all types of notifications that come up on a hourly basis (if not more frequently).

Avoiding sensory overload

Because it’s all around us, it can be hard to limit all this stimuli that is consistently being fed to us. But I want to share with you some tips on avoiding the sensory overload.

One of the things that I did at the request of my doctor was to go and get massages. Great diagnosis, right?

But one directive he had was during those times was for me to turn off my phone. Not put it on silent or vibrate.

What do you mean I’m supposed to turn completely off my phone?

I won’t lie, it made me a little anxious, but there was something so freeing about knowing anything can wait for a half an hour. Anything can be paused, be postponed, for that long amount of time.

It does something for your mind whenever you realize “Hey, no one can get a hold of me, and it’s okay.”

If we think back to the times when people had to write letters, and it had to be delivered by horse from one side of the country to the other and it took months to hear from each other. And now we’re like “oh no, I need to be available. I need to be available right away!”

That’s part of the danger of sensory overload.


Turn off notifications

We have to have our phones in hand. There are constant notifications. News popping up. Facebook likes and comments popping up, Instagram comments popping up.

It’s this idea of too much information. So I want you to go into your phone, into your settings, and change your notifications. Go ahead…I’ll wait.

When we change those notifications, we take back control of when I see information.

I might have a specific time each day whenever I go onto social media and respond to comments. I’m in the Girl of Grace Facebook group daily, but only at specific times of the day.  There’s no little notes or little beeps popping up on my phone saying you just got this comment or so and so just liked your photo.

I went the next step further and took off notifications so there’s not even the little badge on the icon to tell me that I should go check it, because I want to be able to control that myself.

I don’t want to get sensory overload where I feel like I have to check my phone every five minutes for something that definitely could wait.

Unsubscribe from emails

Another thing would be to unsubscribe from emails that come into your inbox. A couple weeks ago, I cleaned out my inbox.

I had 600 emails in just one of my inboxes, which for some people is not very much. My poor husband has like 300 unread in his. It’s crazy.

For me, I have my folders in my email account and I like to organize things, so I spent sometime and cleaned it up. I didn’t stop until I had zero emails in one inbox. In the others, I think I had four or five that were important and that I was currently working with.

It’s better to not have so much to look at right when you open your inbox.

Keep the stuff that you need to keep, obviously, but put them in a folder so it’s organized and then whenever you get to your inbox, it’s only the things that really matter.

Once you’ve done that, and you’ve taken care of those things, move them out of the way so that you’re not having to always just see all this stuff coming up into your inbox.

God gave me this one body, so I have to take care of it. How to deal with stress God's way. | AshleyVarner.com

Hidden Stress Triggers: Being Dehydrated and Malnourished

Now, I’m not talking about just people in a foreign land. Dehydration and malnourishment can happen even when you’re eating daily. It can happen whether you’re overweight or thin.

The reason is because it has more to do with the quality of the foods that you’re eating, and the quality of your digestive system.

You can be eating foods that are great and if your body can’t absorb them due to issues like leaky gut, then you’re not going to be nourished. That was another issue that whenever I went to the doctor because of all this sickness that I was having and he said, “You are malnourished. You need to start getting some nourishment in you, some good quality foods.”

So, I got a juicer and I just started juicing tons of vegetables and getting those nutrients in my body. It was almost overnight and I was feeling like a different person. I was so sick for a while that I was in bed, and it was just not a good situation.

Whenever I started doing this, my clarity came back. My thinking came back, and it has a lot to do with the quality of foods, but also the quality of your system and how your system works. Be intentional about figuring that out any physical struggle you have.

If leaky gut is something that you struggle with, then I would definitely recommend ONE3ONE. It’s a program that I found with videos and audios all about inflammation and leaky gut.

I’m not a paid affiliate for the program, but it will definitely open your eyes that your own health. You can check that out here: The ONE3ONE Method

Food is so readily available, but food doesn’t equal nutrients all the time.

You can be overweight and still be malnourished, so make sure that you’re being a good steward of the body that God has given you and find foods that are going to nourish you.

Being dehydrated can definitely be a stress trigger. Most drinks that aren’t water have some form of diuretic in them. Coffee, tea, soda. Those are going to pull water from your body.

If all you drink is coffee, or all you drink is soda or tea, realize that yeah, maybe you’re drinking a lot of fluids, but you can still be dehydrated.

Being dehydrated definitely increases your stress. It’s just a physical effect of that, so make sure that you’re drinking a lot of water. The more water you drink, the more you realize how much you need to drink it.

There was times I would drink a lot of tea or lemonade, and I wouldn’t feel that thirsty throughout the day. I could almost go all day without really drinking that much, but whenever you start drinking water, it’s like your body craves it. It realizes this is something that it needs so you end up drinking quite a bit more and that’s good for you.

The Stress of Decision Fatigue

The last thing that I wanted to talk to you about as far as daily things that trigger stress is this idea of decision paralysis.

Your body and your mind really only wants to make a certain number of decisions every day.

If you create these issues daily where you are constantly trying to make decisions, even small ones, it can put your body into this chronic state of stress.

Right during the time that I was working to relieve stress in my life, I was watching a show on the Food Network with my husband.

A man comes in and revamps restaurants to help them create a better business.

One of the things that he always does is he looks at their menus. They might have an eight or ten page menu, and he narrows that menu down to about two pages. He told the restaurant owner, “You do not want to give your people too many choices.”

Start by limiting your choices

At first, I thought, “I want to have as many choices as I want.”

But after a while, it made me realize whenever I go to a restaurant that has this huge list of things, it is a little stressful.  You’re looking at everything and you’re not sure what to pick, and there’s just so many options.

It’s okay to limit your options.

Create routines

Another way that you can avoid this decision fatigue is by having routines in your life.

Create routines where you don’t have to make decisions on the small things, things like what:

  • breakfast you’ll eat
  • you’re going to wear that day
  • time you get up

If those routines are the same, if every morning you get up at a certain time, you read your Bible at a certain time, you exercise, then you empty the dishwasher, then you make breakfast. If you have this routine, your body doesn’t have to make decisions for you because it’s on a type of autopilot.

For example when the boys are in school, I used to set out their clothes at the beginning of the week. They would have Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday little hangers in their closet. And on Sundays we would pick all the clothes for them so they didn’t have the stress of trying to decide what they wanted to wear.

I didn’t have the stress of going into their room all the time and trying to figure out what they should wear because it was already done. We made all of those decisions at once, and making those decisions was the equivalent of making one decision.

Whenever you meal plan and you make out your plan for dinners for the week, if you don’t have to decide every single night “Oh no, what am I going to make? Do I have the stuff?” If you do all that at once, then it’s going to take some of the stress off of you.

Related: The Miracle Morning: Christian Mom Edition

Take Action Today!

  1. Change notifications on your phone.
  2. Clean out your inbox.
  3. Stay hydrated and nourished every single day with what you eat.
  4. Limit your choices whether it is clothing, deleting episodes on your DVR, etc.
  5. Consider some morning routines that you can put into place (Grab a worksheet HERE to help get you started!)

I hope that this post, and the previous post about peace, helped you to discover how you can take the stress levels down in your life and really experience God’s peace.

If you haven’t checked out that post, make sure that you do because they go hand in hand. That’s the spiritual side of having a peace of mind, and this is the practical side and the things that you can physically do to lower your stress and really experience more peace in your life.

Related: Setting a Healthy Example for Your Kids

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