Stress. Just that word is enough to make you want to reach for the ice cream, right!? We all know stress is bad for us, and we also know we should try to minimize it in our lives. But do you know how?
First, let me explain that stress is defined as any change in your environment that requires your body to react and adjust in response to it. There are both positive and negative types of stress, but it’s obviously rare that we would ever complain about having too many positive things happen in our lives!
The human body reacts to stress with physical, mental and emotional responses. Most people will be well aware of how stress impacts them emotionally (because that’s typically the obvious sign), but stress (which is distress on the body) can lead to other symptoms. These may include headaches, upset stomach, insomnia, elevated blood pressure and chest pain. Stress can sometimes even cause existing physical issues to worsen.
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Despite the fact that some people turn to alcohol, tobacco or even drugs in an attempt to relieve their stress, these things won’t help the body to cope. Substances like these cause more stress on the body, and can potentially result in more issues.
Stress is an inevitable part of daily life for most people, but there are ways to manage your stress levels, so you don’t experience those panic moments when things are all going crazy. Yoga and meditation are two fantastic ways to reduce stress. They are also helpful in preventing it due to the nature of the practice of deep breathing and stepping away from external stressors to focus purely on the practice.
Turning off your phone/laptop/TV and reading a book, or going for a walk are also great ways to calm stress levels. Taking some time out to do something you love is helpful in keeping stress at bay too. Organizing your time as well as possible will also help.
Having a massage is possibly the ultimate stress reliever for many, but exercise is also a great way to relieve those stressful feelings. Think about how great you feel after a workout! That’s because of the endorphins – chemicals in the brain that are the body's natural painkillers and mood elevators.
Sometimes stress is unavoidable. But if you take the time to focus on ways to minimize it as much as possible, any stress that does come your way will be easier to handle.