Stress is a normal part of life and comes, for the most part, from everyday occurrences. Most of the time, we can simply shrug it off and move in with our lives. But sometimes stress can really get you down, not just for a day or a week, but sometimes for months and even years. Some stress is beneficial, providing a boost of energy that drives you through certain situations like work deadlines or exams. But an extreme amount of stress that is prolonged can affect your health in a negative way. Stress can affect your immunity system. central nervous system and take a severe emotional toll.
Chronic stress can result in high blood pressure, muscle pain and anxiety and might even lead you down the road to depression, heart disease and obesity. But there are ways in which you can help manage your stress. For example, if chronic pain stresses you out, seek pain management from your New Orleans health clinic. Here are a few tips to help manage stress.
Research has shown that exercise benefits the mind just as much as it benefits the body. The long-term benefits of exercise are extraordinary, but even a short walk or a dance session can have in immediate positive effect on stress that lasts for hours.
Laughter really is the best medicine when you are suffering through a stressful situation. Laughter releases endorphins which improve your mood and decrease the stress-causing hormone cortisol. We suggest watching a classic comedy or Monty Python skits; really, anything that will make you laugh.
You have probably heard the saying that music calms the savage beast. Well, music also has a positive effect on the body and brain when you are stressed out. In fact, playing music can reduce cortisol, which is a hormone linked to stress and lower your blood pressure. We recommend listening to Chopin or nature sounds, but some might prefer Van Halen or Nickelback. Really, the choice of music is up to you.
A cup of coffee to get you through a stressful situation might sound good, but all that caffeine will spike your blood pressure. Pour out the coffee and pour yourself a hot cup of tea instead, it has a fraction of the caffeine, contains antioxidants and contains an amino acid called theanine which has a calming effect on your nervous system.
Meditation helps the body and mind focus and relax. Mindfulness can help you see different perspectives, develop self-compassion and forgiveness. Take a deep breath and release emotions that cause stress.
Stress causes you to lose sleep, which in itself is also a cause of stress. This is a vicious cycle that can cause you to get all out of sorts. To increase the likelihood you will get a good night’s sleep, turn off the television early and give yourself ample time to relax before crawling between the covers.
Talk Through It
This might sound crazy, but if you can’t find anybody to help you through a stressful situation, talk yourself through it. Take a deep breath and tell yourself why you are stressed out and what you have done or will do to get yourself through the situation. Most importantly, tell yourself everything will be just fine.
Proper diet and stress levels are closely related. When we become stressed out, our instincts are to eat snack foods or other sugary foods as a way to energize yourself. This is a bad idea. Avoid snacks that contain a lot of sugar and opt instead for vegetables, fruits and foods with high levels of omega-3 and fatty acids, like fish, as they have been shown to diminish the symptoms of stress.