Between Hurricane Sandy, the election, and everyday drama, watching the news can easily trigger feelings of stress for me. Are you feeling it, too? By design, the media over-dramatizes events in order to hook the audience, whether there is validity to the sensationalism or not. Notice the energy of a news broadcast – it’s the energy of stress meant to trigger emotional reactions. If we participate by consuming this media regularly, we can find ourselves living in a stress bath. No, thanks!
When we internalize these nerve-wracking ideas and beliefs, we can experience anger, frustration, anxiety, worry, or fear. It’s such a tendency to think we’re being productive somehow when we’re upset, but it actually reduces our capacity to effect productive change. When people get scared or fall into despair, they often feel paralyzed, experience cognitive shut-down, and can’t make good decisions. And stressful feelings experienced regularly don’t just go away – they accumulate. Continuously amping-up negative emotions releases excessive levels of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenalin throughout the body, creating hormonal imbalances, and heart rhythm patterns that are jagged and irregular. We may not sleep as well, feel confused and tired or on edge, have brain fog, and our immune system may become suppressed. The long-play version of this can cause a cascade of physical health symptoms including headaches, gastrointestinal disorders, stress eating, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, panic attacks, depression, insomnia – chronic modern diseases.