No matter how hard you try to stay calm, stress has a bad habit of popping up. It can make you feel downright miserable, but did you know that it can also have a major effect on your entire body?
"Stress" is the term we use when your body activates its "Fight or Flight" response. This response is designed to protect you from danger. Specifically, it causes your brain to release a bunch of hormones that give you a surge of energy. The level of these hormones is supposed to go down when the threat passes, but if you're dealing with regular stress, this doesn't happen. Instead, your "Fight or Flight" response is always churning - meaning those hormones are constantly surging through your body.
That can lead to all kinds of physical problems, including:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- A higher risk for stroke
- Weight gain
- Immunity issues (meaning you'll get sick more often)
- Sleep issues
- Muscle aches
All of that stress can also cause emotional problems, including:
- Difficulty concentrating
When you look at it that way, it's easy to see why 90% of all doctors' visits are related to stress!
So, how do you prevent these problems from invading your life?
First, realize that you'll never be able to eliminate all stress. Between work, school, and your personal life, there's always going to be something that stresses you out. Unfortunately, stress is an unavoidable part of life!
That being said, there are some things you can do to limit the amount of stress in your life:
1. Make a list of everything that stresses you out.
Then, figure out which things you can control. After that, promise yourself that you'll stop worrying about the things you can't control.
2. Ask for help.
No one can do everything, so don't hesitate to lean on your support system. For example, if picking up your kids after school causes a stressful time crunch, ask a friend or family member to pick them up for you.
3. Get plenty of "me time".
No matter how busy you are, you've got a few minutes to soak in a relaxing bath, read a chapter of your favorite book, or watch your favorite TV show. This personal time doesn't have to take long to make a major impact on how you feel!
4. Start taking advantage of relaxation techniques.
There's scientific evidence that yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises can calm you down and help alleviate the physical issues you're battling because of stress.
5. Talk to your doctor.
You don't have to live with the physical symptoms of excessive stress. Tell your doctor what issues you're dealing with. He or she may have some easy ways to eliminate your suffering!
My #1 stress-busting tip?
6. Get more sleep!
Every study I've ever seen on the subject has said that most folks don't get near enough sleep, the consequences of which are often disastrous.
A good night's sleep allows your body to heal itself, your mind to process all the stuff that's going on in your life, and your vital power to recharge, all of which allow you to better cope with the stressful events of your life without ill effect.
I've found that with a good night's sleep I can easily deal with practically anything, whereas without it even the most minor of incidents turns into a big, stressful event.
How much sleep do you need?
In his book The New Science of Living and Healing, Wallace D. Wattles said this about it:
"In a vast majority of cases eight hours is about the right length of time to pass in sleep every day. More than eight hours is too much. It is generally better to sleep six hours than ten."
My experience has found that to be true.
For more on the importance of sleep and some of the best health and wellness information you'll ever find, I suggest reading Mr. Wattles' books The New Science of Living and Healing and The Science of Being Well. Click or tap the links below to get your copies today.
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