Stress plays a dramatic role in health; here are 5 tips on how you can fight it.
Stress is simply the influence that our surroundings and circumstances have on our state of mind. Anyone who has been anxious about their job, a test or any life circumstance has experienced what stress is, and what its subsequent effects are. Often, people under stress have trouble sleeping, have trouble relaxing, experience stomach problems or digestive issues, and experience moodiness and or lethargy.
For many, this sounds far too familiar…
One of the problems with modern society is that you really do not have to be in a high-stress job to experience the effects of stress. Many of us maintain a far busier schedule than we should. Many of us are constantly inundated with information––much of it is seemingly bad news––via the internet, television, or even our cell phones. Never before in history have humans experienced the volume of stimuli that we receive on a daily basis. Ultimately, we do not know what the long-term effects are.
What we do know is, modern society places a high volume of unnatural stressors on our minds, and that can have profound consequences for our health. Now more than ever, science is uncovering how our mind, our thoughts, and our emotions play a role in the physical health that we experience. Simply put, the mind plays a profound role in our physiological health.
We have known for some time that people who experience high stress regularly are more prone to health issues like heart attack and stroke. Stress, however, is implicated more and more in problems ranging from weight gain to cancer. Stress can also negatively influence the immune system; for those of us on the Kaufmann anti-fungal program, our goal should be to keep our immune system in optimal working order. To that end––and because stress is virtually inescapable in modern society––it is vital to employ some stress reduction techniques.
Many of us do not focus on our breathing, but deep-breathing techniques
as a stress-reduction technique. Breathing deeply can help lower blood pressure and heart rate, and can also provide a calming effect for those under stress. One technique involves breathing in deeply through your nose for approximately 5 seconds, then exhaling for an additional 5 seconds through your mouth. This is something you can practice throughout the day.
Exercise provides a legion of benefits, from cardiovascular benefits to bone health. Exercise is a great way to reduce the effects of stress, too. Exercise releases endorphins––known as “feel good” chemicals––that can counteract some of the effects of stress. It is no wonder that regular exercise is indicated in the prevention of many diseases that stress is known to play a role in.
Find a hobby.
Whether it is gardening, fishing, learning a musical instrument, finding some hobby that you enjoy or enriches your life is an excellent way to reduce stress. Find something in your life––regardless of what it is––that provides a sense of satisfaction and that you enjoy participating in. This alone will help to mitigate other stressors in your life.
Take time off. Regularly.
Many people insist on keeping their schedule completely full, and even feel guilty if they are not always working on something. Taking time to decompress––regularly, not just once a year––is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Taking time off does not necessarily mean going on vacation; it is as simple as taking a day and spending time with family, loved ones, or doing something you enjoy.
Practice daily stress reduction techniques.
While we should all find time to unplug from the stressors of modern life, it is important to address the issue of stress on a daily basis, too. Simply engaging in prayer, meditation, or quiet time on a daily basis has been shown to reduce the effects of stress. This is likely as important as a regular exercise routine.