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Stress and Biomarkers

Just like a Ninja, stress will sneak up on you. When going through a stressful period there are biomarkers to warn you of the uncomfortable road you’re traveling. A biomarker is an indication of where you are biologically.

When you are tired or sometimes nervous, your body might turn on processes that cause you to yawn. When experiencing various emotions, your eyes might begin to water and form tears.

Stress is similar. It also displays physiological responses and displays numerous types of markers concurrently. Because of the damage from stress, it can impact many parts of your body at once. Let’s say for this discussion you reach a high-stress level. You later become calm and stress decreases.

A Stress to Calm Cycle

When the next stress-to-calm cycle happens, you might drop back, but still, maintain some stress at a slightly higher level. The point here is the detrimental nature of stress is that it never really goes away.

As we get used to the various stressors in life, it becomes part of a “new normal” we create. Stress levels continue to creep up…UNLESS we take proactive action to do something about it.

When we walk through life carrying our stress around, we sometimes don’t even recognize it until we look in the mirror. The signs of aging and tiredness appear and then we wonder what happened.

It’s important to recognize the biomarkers that are warning you about your stress levels. Knowing these biological signals gives you the power to be proactive and take action to prevent physiological damage to yourself.

Blood Pressure

Blood Pressure MeterOne common marker is your blood pressure. Your blood pressure can easily be tested at the doctor’s office, pharmacies, most gyms or through portable inexpensive meters at home or on the go.

I have a portable meter and check my pressure at least once a day. Ideally, I’ll get two readings, once in the morning, and another at night.

Then, it all goes into a journal that details the events of the day, and how I’m feeling. Over time, it becomes easy to correlate levels of stress with pressure.

Data helps to find answers. Without data, you’re just guessing. A measurement in the 120/80 range is generally considered normal. Yet, this can differ by each person depending on their health, medications or other factors.

As the systolic (higher number) increases, that indicates hypertension. Generally, a systolic value of 140 or above is considered high blood pressure and that can be indicative of stress.

As part of your personal care, check your pressure regularly and engage in stress-relieving activities if you notice it rising. While not intended as medical advice, some things you can do is cut back on caffeine, clean up your diet, get more sleep and include meditation.

If you are concerned about blood pressure readings, be sure to see your doctor for the appropriate medical advice.

Heart Rate

pulseAnother important biomarker is your heart rate measured in beats per minute (BPM). Similar to blood pressure, this could indicate stress or other issues in your life. When possible, measure your heart rate at a time of rest.

If you just completed some form of exercise, that can skew your readings. A common average resting heart rate might be within the 60-100 BPM range. If you’re above that, that could indicate tachycardia meaning a fast resting heart rate.

A slower heart rate is called bradycardia. If you’re a person that exercises regularly, it’s common that your resting heart rate might be lower. If you’re not exercising and have a low heart rate, that might indicate your heart is not pumping enough oxygen.

Again…NOT giving medical advice, we tend to know our bodies and if something is different than the normal that you’ve known, it’s a good idea to discuss this with your medical professional.

Muscle Tension

While it might not be immediately clear, muscle tension can reveal your stress levels. If you find yourself clenching your fists, grinding your teeth, stretching or twisting your neck, these are potential markers of stress in your life.

Here’s something we all deal with at some points in our lives. Our beliefs are the result of repetitive thoughts from life experiences and every thought creates a chemical reaction. Being that the chemical reaction is a function of our internal biology, resulting beliefs and behaviors could then be considered in a sense, related biomarkers.

If you recognize negative thoughts, beliefs or behaviors in your life, they likely originated from a stressor. When living a life filled with multi-tasking we often try to fool ourselves into believing stress is “Manageable”. Since the negative stressors in our life are damaging to our health, it’s like a poison.

Let me ask you, “How much cyanide would be manageable for you?” (Hopefully none) A continuing amount of stress (or poison) in your life spreads and saturates your cells, ultimately causing damage. Taking action to eliminate it or minimize the effects of stress is wise living.

It’s important to note there are also positive stresses referred to as Eustress, which results in good chemical reactions. I’ll save that for another article. For now, make a choice to take time for YOU.

Consider the various biomarkers that impede your health and overall experience of living. When your markers are related to blood pressure, pulse and overall sense of wellness, a visit with a good medical professional might be a good place to start.

My Own Awareness Story

There’s a reason why I’m writing this article for you today. I may not know you personally but I want your best. When I’m working with my clients, it’s all positive and we generally have a great time together as we find new opportunities to succeed.

For the last ten years, as a Board Certified Therapist, Certified Leadership, Success and Stress Coach, I worked with women from all over the country that came from horrific abuse situations. It was amazing to watch them regain their lives and move toward successful living.

Yet, as an empath, I absorbed all that negative energy, and just like that poison, it saturated my cells until a health event showed up. Foolishly, I wondered where that came from. It was clearly my own schedule from working the deep emotional needs of my clients. I was the guy that said:

It’s manageable…it’s what I do…it comes with the job.”

None of that matters at all when you stand next to your family and realize that unless you get your act together, they could be standing there alone, without you.

What’s Your Story?

How about you? Are you the person that believes being the high-energy professional every moment of every day is what will bring you success? Have you identified yourself with:

“This is who I am…this is what I do…this is what it takes?”

If so, what cost are you putting on yourself? Or those close to you? Many times people go through the motions because their own self-belief doesn’t align with reality and you push through hoping it will eventually work out.

Let me tell you:

“When your thoughts and beliefs are out of congruence with each other, you are creating internal stress…every time.”

In my case, I took a serious look and made a conscious choice for positive change. I saw a doctor. When one didn’t seem diligent enough for me, I found a better one. I’m now sleeping at least 7-hours a night (I was a 5-hour guy for years).

I’m now staying hydrated, meditating, and going to the gym. These are things that might help you get onto a healthy path. I haven’t arrived yet – I still have a way to go. Yet, it all starts with a choice.

Choose life.

Recommended Blood Pressure Monitor

Omron 5 Series Wireless Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor

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About the Author

Anthony M. Davis is a Certified Leadership, Success and Stress Coach. He is a clinically trained Board Certified Hypnotherapist.

He has earned a national reputation for his Transformative Life Centering work with clients from across the nation. His unique approach helps clients remove underlying fears and triggers, and then through coaching, helps them pursue and accomplish life and career goals.

He provides coaching and Hypnotherapy sessions remotely through Zoom. If you have challenges with procrastination, Contact him HERE to create the life change you desire.

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