Stress affects your brain in profound and often debilitating ways. In turn, your whole body can be affected. It’s cumulative, it’s draining and… it’s often avoidable and always on some level manageable with some simple tools.
One of the most common- and curable, even if the cure is long-term and a deep commitment- forms of stress is financial stress. It’s effects can linger like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (more on this soon) because of how the chronic stress affects your brain. It’s also not something that just affects people who don’t make a lot of money or are jobless. A few (not all) of the wealthiest people I know have the greatest financial stress and cite their responsibilities, pressures and mistakes in management and spending as a cause.
I know, you might be thinking right now… “How is this something positive to talk about?”
It is, because everyone needs support when they’re struggling in this way, to take their eyes off the struggle and onto the short and long term solutions.
What’s most interesting in all of this is that stress does not increase prosperity (! quite the opposite!) and it decreases our brain’s ability to solve problems and remain productive in key moments.
So, if you’ve been financially stressed or haven’t recovered from a spell of it quite yet, let’s explore some ways to take the stress out of the equation and pile on the wealth-making solutions.
You are not broken if you’ve come upon a money situation to overcome, and you’re not cursed, damned or anything else. Where you’re at is common, and you can shift out of the stress part of it whenever you decide you are done with it. Support helps in a big way- emotional support, self-support, even group support for specific circumstances.
Money stress is not unusual and you are not alone.
US News reported on just how comon financial stress actually is in America, and I believe it’s safe to say given, in a lot of the world, “Financial stress is far from unusual. Stress in America, a recent report from the American Psychological Association, shows that among more than 3,000 adults surveyed in 2014, 72 percent reported feeling stressed about money within the previous month. About half reported having no emotional support and feeling depressed because of that stress.”
This is enormous.
The intense and chronic stress is also a real risk for your body, mind and spirit… and the stress… is… optional.
“If you turn on the stress response chronically for purely psychological reasons, you increase your risk of adult onset diabetes and high blood pressure. If you’re chronically shutting down the digestive system, there’s a bunch of gastrointestinal disorders you’re more at risk for as well.” ~ Stanford University Neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky
The one thing I kept in mind when I sat recovering 6 years ago from a huge autoimmune health blow up that left me without a job, with incredible amounts of bills and with my health to recover first and foremost was this: I can always make money and worrying about it will not bring it to me faster.
By the time I was fully recovered, I did make a ton of money and things became much different because I was acutely aware that stress was the enemy of my health and life.
Working for myself, on my own, though… I thought that immediately meant that I had to feel the “burn” of stress and push myself to limits in order to succeed. Luckily, my body decided against that and I have learned that stress just isn’t the answer.
Action, creativity, education, working smarter, personal growth and organization = none require stress and all are a big part of actually expanding financial wellness.
Snall amounts of intense stress over a long time add up. I feel it— even right now after typing for a few hours on and off I need a super-hot bath in baking soda and a juice to revive myself soon. If I let the physical stress build for too long, it’s all the same stress equation, and all the negative effects.
Here is how that cululative stress that seems “normal” unfolds on a larger scale in your brain.
Dr. Rajita Sinha, professor of psychiatry and neurobiology at Yale University School of Medicine conducted a study that imaged the brain of 100 healthy subjects to see how stress affects the prefrontal cortex. Such stressors included divorce, death of a loved one and loss of a job. The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain that facilitates a person in the processing of feelings of empathy, personality, expression of your personality and decision-making.
It was concluded that the stressors you experience in your life can change the volume of your brain – particularly the prefrontal cortex. It was shown that these changes are cumulative and occur over time when you lead a life that is continuously full of stress.
Alice Park writes the conculsion in Time Magazine: “Even very recently affect subjects showed smaller grey matter in their brains in the prefrontal cortex, a region that is responsible for self-control, emotions and physiological functions such as maintaining proper glucose and insulin levels.”
So, your grey matter – the stuff of wellness and happiness in your brain- shrinks with stress.
A study published in the Journal of Neuroscience suggests that two parts of your brain are affected through chronic stress. The two areas that were shown to be the most affected are the hippocampus and the amygdala. The hippocampus plays an important role in our long memory and our spatial thinking. The amygdala is also essential in the role of our emotions memory and even our survival instincts.
The abstract explains the study in more detail: “Our findings suggest that the growing dominance of amygdalar activity over the hippocampus during and even after chronic stress may contribute to the enhanced emotional symptoms, alongside impaired cognitive function, seen in stress-related psychiatric disorders.”
None of this is wanted, needed or helpful. And it certainly won’t bring you more money.
Today I want to talk about the stress part. The money part is real, but stressing over it won’t help you at all. There are pretty much free (!) ways to start unwinding stress and start building habits that are far more prosperous. Relaxation helps you tap into all of your creative power… and that’s so much more helpful than extra anxiety!!!
Spend time in nature:
If you feel situations in your life are becoming overbearing, try going for a walk. Fresh air and loads of space can change your perspective and therefore the way you are viewing a current situation. Try walking barefoot in grass, at the park or at the beach. Studies do show that walking on lawns and soil can make you feel more grounded, and that has many positive benefits.
Laugh a little more:
Laughter can do wonders for your stress levels and therefore your health. The Mayo Clinic staff found that laughter can relieve stress and anxiety, help relieve physical pain, ease tension, and even improve your immune system.
Meditate: Breathing and relaxing can help your body recharge. Sara Lazar, neuroscientist at Harvard Medical School, explains the way in which meditation affects your brain.
Nutrition is really important. Hunger is a difficult place to operate from, as is a deep nutritional imbalance. While I am not a doctor but I’ve done lots of research for my own self to support my body if stress happens or starts to build. Always check with your doctor before starting any supplement routine (I always do, and it has helped me a lot!) These supplements that may help relieve stress include adaptogens like Ashwagandha and Holy Basil, Fish oil(EPA/DHA), Magnesium (I personally love Natural Calm), Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, Zinc and more! I get the last handful from a multivitamin that I love.
With or without money, you never ever need to attack yourself, give up joy or believe you don’t deserve to be happy. You do! We all do! Even if you aren’t super-wealthy right now. And I hope that seeing how you can shift your space and become cause over your environment rather that the effect of circumstances will be as much of a rocket forward for you as it’s been for me!
It’s all the small steps forward, staying more present, stretching physically, resting mentally and deciding on optimism and a beautiful life while you learn and grow and build yourself up in every way…
The stress part doesn’t need to continue. And the building part can actually be exciting, too.
P.S.: If you want to really immerse yourself in the light of joy so much more, my favorite Feng Shui and cutting-edge energy-shifting tools that I use almost every day are HERE for you in the Joy Immersion: 30 Day Negativity Detox!
And, if you want to dive in to your own personalized feng shui in a modern, practical way, Say hello to Feng Shui 101. Its the guide I made for you to create your own personalized feng shui at home, in the office, wherever you may be… in 8 weeks. It’s not filled with strict rules or what you “must” do. Its filled with information, questions, exercises and even videos and classes to help you confidently create amazing spaces with killer feng shui and live with more flow. Learn more about the 8-week feng shui adventure & grab your copy to get started right HERE… And, as always, please let me know what happens!