Stress is a common affliction for many Americans, and it can be caused by many different factors in life. Traffic, work, and family issues can all add to a person’s stress, and over time, high levels of stress or anxiety can have deleterious effects on a person’s health. If possible, the best course is to reduce the things that cause stress in your life, but sometimes that’s just not feasible. Some things that cause stress will be simply unavoidable, so it’s important to develop ways to fight against that stress and try to reduce it.
Many techniques for reducing stress are mental training. A lot of stress comes about because we wind up thinking about the thing that causes stress too much, and once it gets in our minds, it builds up and becomes overwhelming. Although it doesn’t sound like helpful advice to simply say don’t let these things bother you, there are ways to train your mind not to dwell on all the stressful situations that can build up around you. For example, remind yourself that when you feel overwhelmed or stressed, it will eventually end. Those feelings of worry or nervousness, of shortness of breath or butterflies in the stomach are ephemeral. Because much of the stress reaction is based on mental states, they can be treated with mental states. Once you accept that you will soon feel better, you may find that that moment of relief arrives merely with that realization.
When facing a stressful situation, your body is primed for the fight or flight response, triggering physiological changes. However, when there is no ready action to be taken, those changes can flood the body with unnecessary hormones. Thus, it’s important to bypass that response by relaxing yourself. Control your breathing in order to rest your mind. Remind yourself that you’re ok and things will work out. Try muscle relaxation exercises. Anything you can do to calm your physiological response will help reduce the build-up of stress and the harmful effects of the chemicals your body releases because of it.
Diet and exercise are also very important ways to help reduce stress. The foods we eat have a large impact on how we feel, and a healthy exercise routine has been shown to improve mood and self-esteem, both factors in reducing stress. In fact, the chemicals released during exercise can help to counteract the chemicals related to stress. Running is one of the best forms of exercise to help reduce stress – if you can’t physically run, simple frequent movement/walking has demonstrated improved glucose and triglyceride levels in persons of adult age.
Healthy foods with good nutritional value are important to the body’s well-being, which affects the well-being of the mind. Highly processed foods with little nutritional value will not only decrease your physical well-being, but also your mental and emotional well-being. So be sure to eat healthy foods that will help you better handle stress.
Stress can cause a loss of sleep, and a loss of sleep can cause stress, so be sure to make time to get enough sleep to refresh your mind and body. You don’t have to change your entire life, but just paying attention to a few small things can have an immense increase in your ability to deal with and reduce the stress you feel from the many things that can be stressful in life. Because high levels of stress over time can have physical impacts on your body and your overall health, be sure to consult a doctor to help you get healthy and maintain that health.
At Internal Medicine, Lipids, and Wellness, Dr. Kordonowy likes to empower his patients to maintain their health. If you have concerns about the health effects of stress or your health in general, be sure to contact IMLWP today at (239) 362-3005, extension 200.