Stress, when untreated, can lead to life altering health complications, especially for the single mother. With much said about the physical and emotional complications of stress, many single mothers are struggling to overcome the daily challenges of raising children while also facing and coping with the health complications associated with their own stress. As a single mother, it is important to understand that stress is usually a physiological response to an emotionally based perception. When we change our perceptions about our reality, we can modify the outcome of not only our stress but the potential health complications associated with it.
As stated, a single mother’s stress can be found, for the most part, in the point of view or perception of the issue at hand. What may be stressful to one single mother is often not stressful to another. In fact, as a single mother, what we gauge our stress upon is simply based on our past experiences in life. These past experiences may lie root in the interactions you previously had with your parents, educators and even events associated with your culture, neighborhood or ethnic background. As a result, we have developed the ability to create stress around particular events and experiences and, when these events or experiences are repeated, our body will naturally respond with a physiological change that is often not intentionally planned and, thus, we have stress reactions which, ultimately, impact our health. So, how do we change the perceptions and experiences so as to alleviate the stress response when the event is repeated?
As a single mother, the next time you feel stressed and uncertain, think back to the event in your life which mimics the current event. Was there a time that you experienced a similar event with an adverse outcome? Next, try to identify how that event played upon your stress level and try to put perspective upon the outcome. This is not to say that every stressful event should be ignored and belittled. However, when we further assess stressful events, and perceive them for what they truly are in our current situation, we can learn to re-program our natural stress response into something of a lesser degree.
Additionally, it is our belief system that, for the most part, will gauge our stress response. Because our belief system is molded into us as children, we often find we respond to events, in a stressful manner, similar to the way in which our parents responded. For that reason, it is crucial to place current stress events into perspective based on your current reality. In other words, as a single mother, what may have been stressful to you 10 years ago, is not the same stress today.
As a single mother, the next time you feel stressed and anxious, stop for a moment. Take a deep breath, relax and begin to address why this stress is so important to you, physically. Why is your body naturally responding to the event in a stresfull manner? Because stress response is an automatic response, it is not something we generally plan to occur. As a result, if we stop and think about the situation, and our prior experiences, usually we can relate the stress to a prior event for which the outcome may or may not be repeated. In doing so, the thought process can work to alleviate the physiological response and, thereby, begin to unwind the state of tension we feel emotionally, intellectually and physically.
Putting your stress into perspective, working to relax and focus on positive perceptions and outcomes, will alleviate tension and improve overall health for both you and your children.