Between family, work, and other obligations it is hard not to get overwhelmed every now and then. It is important to take time for yourself to relax or your physical and mental health can suffer. Stress is a natural reaction to life experiences that we encounter from time to time. Stress can be caused by a number of factors including family, work, responsibilities, life events, everyday responsibilities, and death. If experienced in moderation, stress can be beneficial to your health and help you cope with troubling situations. On the other hand, regular exposure to stress can take a toll on you’re body and you’re overall health.
Common Effects of Stress on the Body
The effects of stress on the body can vary from person to person, but generally speaking the effects include:
- Brain: lack of concentration and energy, headaches, dizziness, panic attacks, depression, and anger.
- Heart: increased heart rate and blood pressures leading to increased risk o high cholesterol and heart attack.
- Stomach: cramps, acid reflux, ulcers, and change on appetite leading to weight gain.
- Immune System: suppressed immune system leading to illness and high levels of inflammation.
- Joints: pain and lowered bone density, muscle tension, tightness, and protein breakdown.
- Hormones: decreased hormone production leading to reduced fertility and sex drive.
How to manage stress
Learning how to manage stress takes time, but practice makes perfect and over time you get the hang out it. Here are 7 simple tips to manage stress and lead a healthier life.
- Meditation: 20 minutes a day can help reduce stress, boost concentration, and increases happiness.
- Exercise: There are many types of physical activity, including running, swimming, walking, skiing, and more. When you engage in exercise your body produces endorphins, which acts as a natural painkiller and alleviates pain and stress.
- Time in Nature: Studies show being in nature releases pleasant feelings, which reduce stress, fear, and anger. Nature also helps to reduce blood pressure, production of stress hormones and improves your overall wellbeing.
- Sleep Well: Sleeping 7-9 hours a night allows our brains and bodies to recharge, rest, and cope with the pressures of life. If you fail to sleep the recommended amount of sleep per night your more likely to experience symptoms of stress.
- Connect Socially: Enjoying the company of friends and family decreases feelings of loneliness and promotes a sense of belonging. In addition, socializing decreases anxiety and stress. So get out there and spend time with your loved ones and best buds.
- Eat Well: Believe it or not, your eating habits can significantly impact your stress levels. Healthy foods (fruits, vegetables, and nonprocessed foods) reduce stress by lowering hormones that trigger it. On the other hand, junks foods can increase hormones that fight stress.
- Make Lists: Stress can occur from being unable to successfully manage tasks. So take a break, grab your favorite writing tool, and jot down your to-dos. This simple task can lead to immediate relief even if the tasks you jotted down are unfinished.