Stress and Health

We all are overwhelmed by our busy lives.  In order to manage stress we must find ways to effectively reduce the impact high levels of stress has on our health. To buffer the negative health consequences. The best way to manage severe stress is to prevent it, or catch it while it’s still a ‘low-grade’ stress and prevent it from becoming severe and chronic. Here are some ways to prevent the devastating effects of un-managed stress.
Relax -It’s important to learn to relax your mind and body. Some ways to do this include meditation, prayer, music, laughter, and having a creative outlet. 

Be in tune to your body - Do you know that stress can cause and can exacerbate ulcers, heart disease and other major  health problems ? Early on the body will experience milder forms of discomfort, such as headaches, stomach upset and trouble sleeping. If you are experiencing any of these early warning signs, start practicing your tension taming techniques and put a stop to low-grade chronic stress before it becomes a bigger problem.

Physical Activity - Walking, even a short walk can improve mood and reduce feelings of stress by increasing endorphins, and by lowering cortisol levels. Here are some of the best ways to reduce stress with exercise1. Practicing martial arts, jogging, lifting weights, dancing. Really, anything you enjoy that gets your heart rate up and gets you out of the house.

Eating Clean - A healthy diet gives the energy to handle daily stress, and keeps the blood sugar levels stable, limiting depression and mood swings due to low blood sugar levels. Skipping meals or making poor food choices contributes to fatigue,  susceptibility to illness, greater feelings of stress, and a general feeling of infirmity.

Learn to say no - Being overscheduled and rushed can be a significant cause of stress.  Prioritizing commitments and saying no to some tasks can help you be more successful with what is really important. Saying no will provide extra time for additional stress management activities.

A strong support system - Having a supportive social network helps you stay healthy and reduce stress in many ways. Friends can provide resources that you may need when you’re in a bind, or a listening ear to help you feel accepted and understood. Studies show that having a sense of belonging can reduce your risk of depression. Having a friend who makes you laugh can also keep you healthier and less stressed.

Let the games begin - Playing games, reading, watching movies and TV. can all help you get your mind off of what’s stressing you and onto something more enjoyable. Sometimes this is just the break you need to stop a pattern of obsessing over problems, and allow your body and mind to enter a relaxed state. When you come back to your stressors, they may not have the same powerful grip on you.

B Positive  - Throughout the day, stop and evaluate the endless stream of thoughts that run through your mind. If they’re negative, try to reframe those thoughts in a positive way. (This isn’t the same as pretending everything’s great when it isn’t, a form of denial that doesn’t always help.) Using less negative language in your self-talk, looking for the hidden benefits as well as the obvious drawbacks of stressful situations, and reminding yourself that this, too, shall pass are all effective strategies in positive thinking that have helped many people.

Get Help If You Need It - If stress is affecting your ability to be productive at work or affecting your enjoyment of life, see your doctor, mental health provider or other professional. There’s no need to let stress crush your life, and there are many effective forms of help available. Finding the right fit for you could help you create the life you’ve dreamed of.  

Creating  a plan of action, and working it into your daily routine can go a long way toward reducing stress in your life and leaving you healthier and happier. Take baby steps at first, and reward yourself for the progress you make, and in no time, these new practices will become habit, and the stressfulness you’ve felt will fade into a distant memory.