Maybe this is not what John Lennon had in mind when he wrote "all we are saying... is give peace a chance", but so many people are living highly stressful lives (I've been there too) and we all need to be reminded sometimes that we are not at war!
Mobile phones, constantly checking emails, internet, rushing to meetings, skipping meals or eating on the run... sound familiar? Sadly this is the daily reality and 'normality' for a lot of people. There is a constant expectation that we should be available 24 hours, 7 days a week otherwise.... otherwise what exactly? Disaster? War? Famine? Societal breakdown?
Adrenelin, norepinephrine and cortisol are our three major 'fight and flight' hormones. Adrenaline gives us that surge of energy to run away from a threatening situation and also focusses our minds. Norelinephrine gets the blood flow into the muscles to give us the best chance of escape. Cortisol takes a little bit longer to release from the adrenal glands - it maintains fluid balance and blood pressure by taking away from some 'non-essential' functions during crisis - reproduction, immunity. digestion and growth & repair.
You can see how this is all really useful when faced with a ferocious lion, a natural disaster or being attacked... but as a response to an email?
If you stay in a constant stressed state the body continuously produces cortisol... those 'non-essential' functions (which are really essential in the long run) get neglected and the result is suppressed immune system (therefore illness), increased blood pressure, decreased libido, skin problems, disgestive troubles - including holding on to weight and more...
So what can we do? Here's a few simple tips:
1) Take some deep breathes - when you get up, before you turn on your computer, before you tackle big tasks... this helps to regulate the body and tell it you are not in the war zone.
2) Have regular meals - eat at regular times and give your body a break to digest in between meals. It will start to trust that it is getting nutrients at certain times and therefore let go of what it doesn't need
3) Disconnect - make sure you have some time every day without the phone, computer, tv... just some time out. Schedule some 'unavailable' time?
What do you do to give peace a chance?