Did you know that your health problems may be caused by stress?
Stress is key to survival and can be beneficial: it can be defined as a burst of energy that basically advises you on what to do. It can help you accomplish tasks more efficiently and boost your memory. Stress is essential before an exam or a job interview for instance.
Long term stress (or chronic stress), however, is damaging your health. It can lead to or worsen serious health issues.
It is important to know the consequences of chronic stress on your health and find ways to minimize or, even better, get rid of it entirely.
Stress can contribute to the development of major illnesses, such as heart disease, depression and obesity. People suffering from chronic stress also have a weakened immune system.
Stress can have a direct or indirect impact on your cardiovascular health. It can increase heart rate and blood flow, and causes the release of cholesterol and triglycerides into the bloodstream.
Indirectly, stress increases the likelihood of smoking or obesity which degrade your cardiovascular health.
Stress increases the chances of developing bad behaviors, such as unhealthy eating and excessive drinking.
Stress also seems to raise the glucose levels of people with type 2 diabetes directly.
Depression and Anxiety.
Chronic stress is connected to a higher risk of mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.
While stress doesn’t directly cause ulcers, it surely makes them worse. It can also cause chronic heartburn and irritable bowel syndrome.
Stress itself isn’t a cause of Alzheimer’s disease but, as for many other diseases, it accelerates its progression.
You get it. Stress is really bad for you. So how do you recognize bad stress?
You must pay attention to what your body tells you. Warning signs of chronic stress could be:
•Inability to concentrate or complete tasks
• Getting sick more often with colds
• Body aches
• Other illnesses like autoimmune diseases flare up
• Trouble falling sleeping or staying awake
• Changes in appetite
• More angry or anxious than usual
It is crucial to find healthy ways to cope with stress. Everybody is different so try these tips below and find what works best for you:
Natural remedies are safe, cheap (sometimes even free!), simple to get, effective and have fewer side effects than prescription drugs. Here are a few of the bests.
Studies have found that regular exercise -aerobic exercise in particular-, decreases overall levels of tension, elevates and stabilizes mood, improves sleep and self-esteem and reduces stress. Just five minutes of exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects! Check this article for more in-depth detail about stress and exercise.
Relaxation techniques such as yoga, practicing deep breathing, getting a massage or learning to meditate are all proven to reduce stress and improve mood. Ten minutes of meditation a day is enough to start feeling better. If you’re interested, this article explains what meditation really is about.
Use herbal medicine.
Natural remedies such as herbal medicine provide ways to reduce the feelings of stress and anxiety without having to visit your GP. You can use them as infusions or essential oils.
- Chamomile tea helps relax muscles, calms nerves, reduces anxiety and helps with insomnia.
- Lavender essential oil promotes quick stress and anxiety relief.
- Valerian herbs promote feelings of tranquility and peace.
- Theanine, derived from green tea, is a well-known stress reliever and boosts cognitive functions.
- Lemon balm is known to have positive effects on relieving stress, anxiety and other mood disorders.
Try them all and see which one you prefer!
Change your diet.
While you may be tempted to indulge with highly processed,high-fat foods to cope with stress, this might do just the opposite of that. High fat foods have a tendency to make you feel lethargic and less able to deal with stress. Not only that, but stress increases blood pressure and raises serum cholesterol levels, destroying arteries and increasing risks of heart attack.
So what should you eat?
Whole, unprocessed food are always the best choice. High-fiber, carbohydrate-rich foods are prefered, as well as fruit and vegetables. Keep away from packaged food that are high in salt, fat and sugar. Whole foods will give you the necessary nutrients to boost your immune system and your brain.
Connect with people and share your feelings: the worst thing you could do is isolate yourself. Thus, you should seek support from your family or your friends. You can also engage in your community and meet new people by volunteering.
In conclusion, life has its ups and downs and while you may not be able to change it (sometimes you have to accept the fact that you can’t), you have the power to decide how you deal with it. If managing stress by yourself is too difficult, give Fitmo Health a try. We have many experienced health coaches available to help you become a happier person.
The reward for learning to manage stress is peace of mind and — perhaps — a longer, and healthier life.
We want to hear from you!
How do you manage stress? Let us know in the comments below!