Stress–we’re all familiar with it, but when does it become a problem and begin impacting our overall health? Stress is the brain’s response to any demand. Let’s face it, we are bombarded with demands each and every day. Most of these we can handle with no problem, but sometimes we encounter periods where things can become too much. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, chronic stress is when our body’s response to stress goes on for too long and results in a lowered immune system, as well as digestive, excretory, and reproductive systems that stop working normally. Over a period of time, chronic stress can have serious health implications such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetese, anxiety, depression and other illnesses.
Aside from hitting the lottery and living without a worry, how can we learn to manage our lives without letting all the normal pressures build up and become a problem? One way to deal with everyday stress is to exercise regularly. Exercise releases feel good chemicals and helps to work out your anxieties and tensions. Of course, regular exercise has other health benefits like helping to maintain a healthy weight and it’s associated with reducing your risk in developing many diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and certain cancers. Fruits & Veggies–More Matters has some great tips on how you can easily incorporate simple activities into each day to reduce your stress level while having fun!
Another great way to manage your stress level is through coping methods like yoga, meditation or tai chi. Many people find the breathing exercises of these methods and quiet are beneficial for releasing negative energy and calming their minds. Most health clubs are offering such classes or there are specific studios you can join for a modest fee.
A few other common sense suggestions include:
- Setting time for some rest and relaxation. Take a few hours to treat yourself–maybe get a massage or a pedicure. Do something you enjoy!
- Be sure to execute good time management. Prioritize your work so you aren’t feeling too overwhelmed and say no to things you simply cannot do (don’t take on more than you can handle if at all possible).
- Lean on your friends and family for support. We all deal with stress, so use those close to you to help you manage through the rough patches.
- Eat a healthy diet! This will help to keep you healthy even when you’re stressed and you’re immune system may be taking a beating.
- Finally, if you are really feeling overwhelmed or are feeling poorly in any way, seek help from a medical professional. There is no need to suffer in silence.