"Stress and seeking a balanced life" - by Shelly MacGregor

Shelly MacGregor: These days we’re bombarded with so many messages about what life should and shouldn’t be. We need to start saying “don’t should on me” more. A balanced life never existed and the driving force to achieve this foreign act of balance may have been created by some over achiever that thinks there is no need to fear or be ready to flee at any given moment.

The fight or flight response in our bodies is a natural flood of hormones that prepares us to stay and fight or turn and run. Once our mind triggers this onset of hormones, our heart rate and breathing typically increase, our muscles get tighter and the blood vessels constrict while preparing to either engage or flee. It is an important automatic reaction to a perceived threat; key word is perceived. Your body’s response can be triggered by either a real or imaginary threat. Typically this perceived stress and the flood of hormones will clear and you will feel better, more relaxed and in control after 60 – 90 minutes.

Imagine you get a call to come to your manager’s office; do you feel a pit in your stomach or does your heart speed up? Or consider your phone rings after 11pm; do you feel your blood vessels constrict at your temples or does your heart starts to race?
Both of these examples could take you to a stress level just by what your mind is hypothesizing. Essentially you have taken your mind down the rabbit hole, created outcomes that have caused you to prepare to flee or stay and face the perceived situation. Now imagine the first scenario but…a month leading up to the call from your manager, everyone in your department has been fired and you think you could be next. Depending on your ability to manage this longer period of stress, your body can start to experience muscled tension, immune disturbances, blood pressure concerns and many more mental and physical concerns.

To assist in keeping your body well and managing your mind during these times when stress isn’t simply your body responding to a threat, we need to look at how your mind is responding to the long term unknowns and how it is perceiving long term situations. By emphasizing how your behavior and thought influence your health, your awareness and ability to engage in a few of these techniques, can help change the behaviors that contribute to your health and well-being.


Journaling – Start writing about your stress or situation while process the emotions you are moving though. Read more here: https://www.verywell.com/the-benefits-of-journaling-for-stress-management-3144611


Take a Walk - Walking briskly or jogging really does calm you down by sparking nerve cells in the brain that relax the senses, new research has shown.
Read more here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2356004/You-CAN-walk-away-stress-Scientists-discover-stroll-soothe-brain.html#ixzz4uZycoAvB 

You Deserve a Massages - Studies of the benefits of massage demonstrate that it is an effective treatment for reducing stress, pain and muscle tension. See what the Mayo Clinic thinks: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/massage/art-20045743

Learn to Meditate – Surrender your control and simply see how your mind is creating a story around a fact. Often our thoughts create outcomes that never happen. Read more at webmd: https://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/stress-management-doing-meditation


Shelly MacGregor is the Owner of Apex Massage Therapy Ltd. and the Founder of Spagoes and Spa 901 in Fernie BC.

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