It’s natural to feel stressed from time to time, but how do you define stress? What effect does it have on our overall health? What can we do to better understand how to deal with it? When we are under stress, our bodies react in a certain way. A major challenge or threat causes chemicals and hormones to surge throughout your body. We instinctively respond like this in the face of danger, and it’s why our ancestors overcame occasional dangers.
What is stress?
Stress is the body’s hormonal response to anxiety. It activates the hypothalamus, which sends signals throughout your nervous system and to your kidneys. Consequently, your kidneys release stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, also known as fight-or-flight hormone. Understanding that stress can affect your health and knowing how you cope with minor or major stresses, can help you reach out for support when needed.
Stress is not always a bad thing.
We experience “good stress”, or “eustress”, when we are excited. The pulse quickens and the hormones surge, yet there is no threat or cause for alarm. It can happen while riding a bike, skydiving, or competing for a promotion at work. Even going on a first date can cause us this type of stress. These good stress triggers help us feel alive and motivated to live our lives.
Long term stress is harmful for your health.
There are two main types of stress: Acute and Chronic. Even if you can’t find time to relax right away, acute stress doesn’t have a lasting effect on your body. There are many potential causes of chronic stress, such as problems at work and at home. When caused by repeatedly facing stressors, it can have negative health effects on your body. In addition to headaches, insomnia, weight gain, anxiety, pain and high blood pressure, chronic stress can also cause gastrointestinal problems.
Positively, there is a way to cope with stress and control it. We have compiled five tips to help you cope.
Make an effort to observe
Understand how your body reacts to stress, such as difficulty sleeping, increased alcohol or other substance use, becoming easily irritated, feeling sad or depressed, and having low energy levels. By recognizing triggers, you will be able to learn when and how to react.
Stress is a part of everybody’s life. You don’t need to go through it alone. You can get support, as well as practical help, from your friends and family. The act of socializing might trigger “good stress” and help you overcome your anxiety problems.
Maintain your fitness and health
Regular exercise is an excellent way to relax your body and mind. As little as 20 minutes of walking every day can help balance the nervous system and increase blood circulation, flushing out stress hormones. Have you ever heard the expression “Angry and hungry go together“? That is correct. Eating a well-balanced diet on a regular basis will help you feel better in general. It may also aid in mood regulation. Drink more water, eat organic fruits and vegetables, and avoid sugar and processed foods.
Have a restful night
Do you have difficulty sleeping at night? To compensate for the lost sleep, address the underlying cause and incorporate more meditation into your daily routine. Always remember that the morning is smarter than the night. Do not waste your nights overthinking. Thinking about all the things you appreciate in your life, including your own positive qualities, can help you shift your perspective and find some peace and comfort.
Take a break
Take it easy on yourself. You cannot control everything that happens to you or around you. No matter how hard you try you cannot accomplish everything perfectly. But never forget how far you have come. Celebrate your successes and setbacks. Take a moment to appreciate yourself.
Taking on positive changes can be challenging if your mind is dominated by negative thoughts. When it becomes difficult to change, it is time to seek professional help. Counseling or therapy can provide you with stress management techniques that can help you identify what is causing the problem and how to deal with it.
Written by Marina Malobabic for MedEZ.com