4 Ways to Combat The Dangerous Effects Of Stress
Stress is an incredibly normal emotion to feel – and with it, it can bring a vast amount of physical and phycological problems, too. We all feel a little bit of stress each and every day, all stemmed from day to day niggles; missing your train on a busy Monday morning, or when the clouds decide to open and pour with rain whilst you’re on your way to an important occasion – not to mention you’ve forgotten your umbrella! All these irritations can stress you out, and that is very normal….
The problem is when stress becomes overwhelming and starts to affect your health and wellbeing. I’m not talking about when your favorite tv show hasn’t recorded and you get a rush of frustration over your body, I’m talking about the extreme level of constant and unhealthy stress that can create many problems such as; acne, weight gain, and illness.
One study recently found that in the US 33% of adults, both male and female, are experiencing high levels of stress while trying to live and balance a normal life . With this brings countless other issues that you may not realize are all caused by those high levels of stress.
What Is Stress?
Stress is your body’s natural response to any pressure, either mental or emotional. It is created by the hormone adrenaline in your body and released in times of danger. Adrenaline will then produce a hormone called cortisol, which will inform your body that you’re in jeopardy. This is an amazing natural response… but the downside is that it also happens during periods of stress. Regular production of cortisol is the cause of pretty much all of the negative effects of stress. While it thinks the body is under threat, it will block a lot of other bodily functions that we need to keep healthy, creating many health and emotional problems.
Related: 6 Natural Ways To Lower Cortisol
It’s simple, the higher your stress level is, the more your body will produce cortisol, resulting in some nasty long-term side effects. Take a look at 5 of the common signs you’re overly stressed…
1. Changes in your weight and mood
2. Persistent cravings for junk food
3. Chronic tiredness
4. Frequent illness
5. Confusion or 'mental fog'
What You Can Do...
The perfect answer to reducing your stress levels is meditation. When you begin your day, it is imperative that you try to start it with a clear, fresh mind, ready to take on whatever the day brings. If you start your day with the weight of yesterday’s stresses, you’ll end up piling more and more stress in a mound…terrible for your mental and physical health.
Meditation is key creating a calm and peaceful start to the day. By taking 10 – 15 minutes out of your day – either in the morning or at night - you can calm your entire body and mind, reduce stress levels and recharge your ‘batteries’. This time of peace can massively help your mind to gain clarity and perspective on those problems that have been keeping you up at night…
2. Sleep Better
It seems too easy, but getting a good night's sleep is a great way to keep your stress levels to a minimum. I know it may seem easier said than done, as stress can be a factor of your difficulty sleeping, but if you know how to break through that barrier, you’ll be waving goodbye to the sleep-deprived version of yourself.
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3. Avoid Sweet & Caffeinated Drinks
Avoid, avoid, avoid drinks packed with sugar and caffeine! It is very easy to grab a cold fizzy drink or a morning coffee and slurp away when you’re feeling anxious or stressed, but it isn't doing you or your body any favors. While you’re stressed, your blood pressure will be at its highest, meaning your heart is already working at a faster rate… if you then add a pile of sugar to your body, your heart rate is going to be erratic and unhealthy. This includes any caffeinated drinks, too, as they will also increase your heart rate and keep your body in a state of panic and stress.
Replace these beverages with a glass of water or herbal tea and you’ll notice your heart and stress rate reduce dramatically.
4. Work Out
When your body has an unhealthy amount of adrenaline and cortisol building up inside, you can be left feeling irritable, anxious and restless. Your body is overflowing with energy that needs to be released in a healthy way… that is why working out is a great way to reduce stress. Keeping your body active during times of anxiety can disperse the adrenaline and help your body return to a natural hormone balance. You don't have to go fitness crazy, but some gentle physical activity two or three times a week can help you stay relaxed and stress-free!
Stress is frustrating, all-consuming and can create some real issues with your health - both mentally and physically. So, finding ways of recognizing stress and learning how to reduce your cortisol levels is key to looking after your body. Once you’re able to put the stress-reducing actions into practice, you will notice your stress level reduce dramatically, giving you back control of your own life!
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