Start caring about your stress, feel better fast

Worry, fear, despair, these all contribute to the stress we feel from day to day. There could be worry over finances, fear about a new job or despair over losing a loved one. Even happy moments can cause stress. The stress over buying a brand new home, planning a party or hosting overnight guests.

When it comes to the stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline, it doesn’t matter where the stress comes from. They do not discriminate between fear and happiness, worry and excitement. To fend off any type of stress, these hormones will send your body into “fight or flight” mode. You know your body is in this mode when you experience that rapid heartbeat in your chest and burst of energy.

How does stress make you sick?

The sad reality is that our bodies are under constant attack from stress. Whether you get a jolt from a red light runner or you are just overwhelmed from being a busy mother or father, the stress put on your body is the same.

Across the board, money and work are always the top stressors for most Americans. Top this with a chronic illness, depression diagnosis and poor coping skills, you have a recipe for disaster. It doesn’t help that you are probably a little addicted to social media and scrolling through your feeds. These can all be stressful events.

Chronic and unchecked stress can manifest physically in many ways. It can lead to a weakened immune system, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer and digestive issues. Stress of course can also lead to poor coping skills, such as overeating, smoking and alcohol abuse.

Additionally, stress can cause your body to break out in hives, give you more headaches than you are used to and your weight can fluctuate. Since stress can cause your immune system to take a dive, you might also be suffering from a cold or cough that just won’t go away. This is because your body just can’t figure out how to recuperate. Lastly, your body might deal with stress by producing acne.

How can I dial down stress?

The best way to approach dialing down your stress levels is to do a little bit at a time. If you get overwhelmed by trying to reduce your stress, it can have the opposite effect. Here are simple things to try, at your pace, to reduce your stress levels.

  • Exercise: There really is no better medication for stress than exercise. It can truly boost your overall health and reduce the stress from the day. It doesn’t have to be overly intense, but consider face-paced walking, jogging, swimming or an aerobics class to let off some steam.
  • Sleep: Stress plus sleep deprivation is a recipe for disaster. Work on practicing good sleep habits so your mind can rest and destress.
  • Diet: While one of the stress hormones, adrenaline, does suppress your appetite, it is cortisol that will nab you in the end. High levels of cortisol in the body fuels your appetite. It can lead to cravings of high-fat and sugary foods
  • Organize: Get your to-do list together and make small goals for yourself. It could be lingering financial issues that you need to bring to the forefront or fixing a broken toilet. By just organizing the things that need to get done and dedicating a time to resolve each issue will take loads off your shoulders.
  • Unplug: If you find your stress rising as you scroll through your Facebook feed, it is probably time to unplug for a little while. Give yourself a daily limit and then just turn it off. The virtual world we live in causes more stress than we realize.
  • Relax: Finding a way to control your inner peace can be done through relaxing meditation and yoga.
  • Call a friend: A great stress buffer is chatting with friends and family to nurture relationships. It is always great to open up and get a fresh perspective on your situation.
  • Seek professional help: It is never a bad idea to seek professional help when the stress creeps up and never seems to dissipate.

Bottom Line

Stress is going to happen, no matter how hard we try. The difference will always be with how we handle the stress we are dealt. You can choose to cope by overeating or retracting indoors. However, you can battle your stress by eating well, learning how to relax and organizing your daily life to make each stressor eventually dissipate.

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