Stress: The Overlooked Toxin

Stressed Woman1

Written by Mindy, Contributing Writer

We live in a fast-paced society where economic troubles and health problems seem to be everywhere we turn.  It’s no surprise that stress is such a close companion to so many people.

While we are talking about Spring Cleaning the Toxins here at Keeper of the Home, I wanted to take the opportunity to talk about getting a toxin out of our lives that most people don’t see as a toxin – stress.

Stress goes beyond emotions. Stress is a real, physical reaction in our bodies. It is where emotional meets physical.

Toxins Caused by Stress

When we worry and stress over things and situations, our physical bodies feel it in a way that most people don’t realize. It produces “pollutants” or “stress toxins”. Over time, our bodies can get clogged up with these toxins which leave us vulnerable to all kinds of health problems including high blood pressure, ulcers, heart attack and diabetes.

Stress can even kill the good bacteria that lives in our gut. So you might want to think twice next time you start to worry about your gut health! That worrying can be very counter-productive!

Stress Triggers

There are many different things that can trigger stress. Different people have different stress triggers.

For me, I get easily stressed out when I have too much on my plate. It leads to anxiety and I can quickly get burned out.

Here are some of the more common things that cause stress in a lot of people:

  • Finances
  • Health
  • Relationships
  • Jobs
  • Taking on too much
  • Perfectionism/People Pleasing
  • Cluttered house/Cluttered life

Some of these things can be controlled and some of them can’t. Once we learn what triggers we have control over and what ones we don’t, we should work to eliminate those that we do have control over. And then learn how to manage the stress that is caused by the things we can’t control.

Tips for Dealing with Stress

Woman Exercising

Photo by Ambro

1. Get plenty of regular exercise

Being active and getting enough exercise is one of the best things we can do for our health and well-being. Not only does exercise keep us fit, but it also drains our body of stress toxins. When we don’t exercise, these toxins will start to build up and cause stress-related illnesses.

This is something that I need to work on more. When I take the time to regularly exercise, I feel so much better. Exercise is a needed release for our physical bodies. God created our bodies to work hard and be active!

2. Take time to relax

Breathe in. Breathe out. Slow down.

Sometimes our fast paced lifestyles can put stress on us that we don’t even realize. Taking time to relax and just enjoy life can help us avoid that type stress that so many of us are just used to.

3. Change your perception

Fairly minor things sometimes put a lot of unnecessary stress on our bodies.

Does running late stress you out? What about your schedule not going exactly as planned? (Guilty!) A quick attitude change in these situations can help us eliminate this unnecessary stress in our lives.

4. Ask for help

You are not superwoman and you don’t have to try to be either. There is no shame in asking others around you for help.

I have recently had to ask my husband for some temporary help with things that are normally my responsibility around the house. I have been working on a new graphic design business that I am launching, and if I had not had his help I would have been stretched to my absolute limit and even beyond. He was more than happy to help me however, and I was able to get my business up and running without getting too stressed out about it.

5. Let it all out

Pent up feelings are not healthy – emotionally or physically. If you are having a bad day, feel overwhelmed, and just want to cry, then just let it all out!  Have a good cry, and give those stress toxins a natural form of release.

Casting All Your Care on Him 8x10

Click here to download this free printable from Simply Designs.

6. Give it over to the Lord

This can be the hard one, but I also believe that it is the most important one.

When life gets tough, it can be hard to trust that God is in control. But He is! No matter what situation you are facing, He is with you and He is working all things together for your good. He is making something beautiful out of your life.

Sometimes just praying about something can do amazing things for reducing stress levels. When you trust that it is in God’s hands, you realize that no amount of worrying can solve your problem.

I often remind myself of a quote that I learned from a friend of mine.

“Worry is temporary Atheism.”

Wow, that’s kind of hard to admit, but how true it is.

Moral of the Story

It can be so easy to get stressed out over what toxins are in our food and our environment. These are legitimate concerns, and I think that everyone should do their best when it comes to avoiding toxins and chemicals. However, when we stress and worry over things like this, we are actually filling our bodies with more toxins!

When it comes to living a natural lifestyle and trying to eat a healthy, whole-foods diet, just do the best that you can. If you can’t afford to eat 100% organic, grass-fed, local foods, DON’T STRESS ABOUT IT! The stress will put more toxins in your body than the non-organic food that you are eating. As my good friend Stacy told me the other day, “Worry will kill you before food will.”

Have you been…

What are some of your tips for dealing with stress?

Top photo by Africa

 

About Mindy

Mindy is a wife, momma, and lover of all things simple. She works at home as a graphic designer from her design studio, Simply Designs, creating blogs, websites, ebooks, invitations, and more!She believes in eating real, whole food in the way that God intended for it to be enjoyed. Her desire is to live a healthy, God honoring, purposeful life.

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Comments

  1. Mindy,
    I just re-read your post and all I can say is what a timely reminder at the beginning of the year! Keeping the Lord first, and everything else will follow.
    Thanks – I feel better already.

  2. So right on about stress.

    What has helped me the most with stress is this: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving…” Emphasis on “…with thanksgiving…”

    God really works…

  3. Thanks so much for this post! We had been on the GAPS diet for 3 weeks, when my son became seriously sick from RSV. It developed into pneumonia & he had to spend 2 days in the hospital. Talk about stress. I’m thinking what’s up with this – I thought the diet was supposed to make us healthier? When we started the diet, I was committed not to let the diet consume our lives, but keep Christ at the center. My reaction proved I wasn’t doing that. Also, I now realize that the diet just caused more stress, something we had plenty of to begin with. I’m continuing with it, but praying more & so I will stress less!

  4. What a great reminder!! This is SO true!!!

  5. This is a great post, Mindy. I needed the reminder to exercise. I do great when the sun is shining and the weather is warm. I can get out and push a stroller around the neighborhood. But when it’s rainy and dreary, I get so lethargic. Since 3/4 of the year is winter around here, I really, really need to make it a priority to find exercise that works for me when I can’t get outside. This was such a great reminder of the importance of exercise and the problem with stress.

    Oh and thanks for the links! Mark tells me often that worry is temporary atheism. It’s such a helpful reminder!

  6. Stressing about a healthy diet is a big one for me. With picky eaters in the house it is so challenging at times to have a healthy diet. Just recently I decided to let it go. There are some foods that kids will eat and are at least kind of healthy, so that is what we are having now. Ones I made this decision, I could feel the relief. The stress did put more toxins in my body than the food will. Thank you so much for the encouragement!

  7. so true! i realized while reading this i need to take a deep breath. awwwww.

    one thing that helps me in de-stressing is turing on some worship music – the house of prayer in kansas city has 24/7 free streaming available and often i just go to their archives and turn something on. it is so helpful in turning my attention back to Jesus and off of circumstances. here is the link: http://www.ihop.org/prayerroom/archives/

  8. I love the free printable design ~ He is the answer!

  9. Great post, Mindy! Thanks! :)

  10. What a great way to wrap up this series! I love this post, Mindy! It has been a stressful year (or 3?) for our family, and I have really let exercise go by the wayside since my 18-month-old was born. Thanks for the encouragement and motivation! :)

  11. Thanks for this great post! The quote, “Worry is temporary Atheism.” really hit home for me. As a co-dependent I tend to not only worry about what’s going on in my life, but worry on behalf of others as well! It’s something I’ve been working on for a while now, but still have so much room to grow in. Giving it over to the Lord is the only thing that I can do, if I truly believe He is soveriegn, then I need to put that belief in action!

  12. what a great reminder….I hate to worry yet I can so easily be duped into “temporary Atheism” — Ty, you gave practically suggestions, and we certainly have our part to do to stay and maintain a clean vessel for the Lord to use.

  13. Right on, Mindy!!! Stress is awful…and when I can let go of it, my life is SO much better. I second the exercise point – it works for me every time!

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