Stress can be a motivator or a destructor of your health? It’s all in how we channel it. Left unchecked and undealt with, chronic stress can and will wreak havoc on your health.
When we have a chronic high stressed life, our bodies will become fatigued, we have difficulty concentrating, are irritable. Muscles are in a constant state of guardedness, causing an increase in the inflammatory response, headaches, and multiple musculoskeletal disorders. Others deal with stress by smoking or over-eating, which lead to other multiple disorders. Stress can cause GI upset, stomach pain, diarrhea, sleep problems, depression, anxiety, and many more physical ailments. Chronic stress has also been linked to acceleration of cancer progression by inhibiting the immune response.
In addition, when we are chronically stressed, the body releases stress hormones. This combined with increased blood pressure, over time can take a toll on the body by increasing the risk for hypertension, heart attacks or a stroke.
So how can we turn this negative, health altering process around?
•Identify the cause of the stress. Once you know what’s causing you the stress, you can then formulate a plan to deal with it. It might mean setting more reasonable expectations for yourself or asking others for help with joint responsibilities. If it’s something you cannot change (like your job for instance) think about other ways you can alter your attitude to deal with your current situation until you are able to change it.
•Build and foster strong relationships. Some relationships may be the source of stress if able decrease the time with these people. Build more relationships with positive attitude people and friends that can be a support for you and will buffer the stressful times.
•Get plenty of sleep, eat healthy and get some exercise. By doing this, you are supporting your overall health body health and supporting your immune system. This, in turn, will help you feel more relaxed and rested.
• Laugh More! Research shows the health benefits of Laughter are far-reaching! Laughter can help in relieving pain, increase the immune response, and bring greater happiness into your life. When you have a good laugh, the body reduces the levels of stress hormones, increases endorphin release, and helps build our immune system.
So try and relax, laugh more and enjoy your positive relationships in life. Your heart and body will thank you for it!
American Psychological Association. (2016). How stress affects your life. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/stress.aspx
American Psychological Association. (2016). Stress effects on the body. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/stress-body.aspx
Dhabhar, F. (2012). Good stress, bad stress. Stanford Medicine newsletter (Fall). Retrieved from http://stanfordmedicine.org/communitynews/2012fall/stress.html
Mayo Clinic. (2016). Healthy lifestyle: Stress management. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20046037?pg=2
Verywell. (2016). The stress management and health benefits of laughter. Retrieved from Verywell: https://www.verywell.com/the-stress-management-and-health-benefits-of-laughter-3145084.