Reduce Stress & Improve Wellness

Header 1Handling stress is likely more important than you think. In today’s society most of us live busy lives – juggling many different areas of responsibility like work duties, parental responsibilities, and home duties ranging from cooking and cleaning to family bookkeeping or running an at-home business. People are living longer, and many adults are now caring for their elderly parents as well. Single parents also take on more jobs than ever before. Whatever your stressors may be, they are not just thoughts in your head; your body is designed to cope with them in physical ways that may be damaging over long periods of time. You do need to find some ways to deal with stress in your life for your own physical well-being.

How your body handles stress can lead to physical problems like increasing your risk of heart attack by 21 times, contributing to diabetes or stomach disorders, or even changing your immune response and cell behavior. Our bodies respond to stress by releasing different hormones. Over long periods of time, we become less sensitive to the hormones as they are ever-present in our bodies so they have different effects than they are supposed to. Cortisol is one such hormone, and is helpful to your body when introduced to handle short term stress, but has a negative effect if your body begins to be desensitized to it. This can lead to chronic inflammation and contribute to heart disease or diabetes, just to name a couple negative health effects. Another effect of stress is the disruption of the immune system, which can contribute to memory function and Alzheimer’s Disease. The list of physical problems that can result from stress is long, but can be avoided if you employ some stress-relieving methods and dedicate yourself to lowering your stress.

There is a wide range of ways to lower your stress and implementing any combination of them can help lower your stress levels so your body can regulate stress hormones and deal with stress properly once again. Some ways to reduce stress include exercise or yoga, meditation, positive emotions, or even some healthy foods.

shutterstock_165455477(Mercola, Dr Joseph. 11 March 2015.)

Reducing stress.

Some people feel that running or hitting the punching bag helps them relieve stress, while others find that same release in yoga. The quiet and stillness of yoga exercise lends itself to stress relief. The calm and peace you find on the yoga mat is beneficial because it combines the mind and the body, and if we can help with those thoughts in our heads, we are on the right track to healing our bodies. Beginner yoga has many simple poses and focuses on controlling your breathing so it can have physical benefits from the first day if you decide that it may be right for you.

Similarly, meditation requires the involvement of both mind and body and have a very positive effect. Long ago meditation was considered a strictly spiritual practice, but that is no longer the case. By definition, meditation is the clearing of the mind, the purging and reorganizing of the jumble of information that builds up in your mind each day. In today’s society we have this jumble of overwhelming information more than ever because of our phones and computers constantly distracting us from our task at hand. Texts and tweets call to us all day long and interrupt our thoughts. During meditation you focus your attention and calm the stress in your body. If you would like to try a guided meditation, you can find videos online to help get you started. Once you are skilled at it, you can practice meditation in the quiet moments you find in your day.

Quiet moments are good stress relievers as are positive emotions. Most people have heard that petting a dog or cat can help relieve your stress, and it’s the same with hugging your child, connecting with a loved one, or finding the thing that makes you smile and laugh, and feel happy. Feeling these types of positive emotions actually can cause chemical reactions in your body that can improve your health. In a similar way, sunshine can help with your stress so take the kids and the dog out back and get a triple-dose of sunshine, happy stress relief!

Many foods make us feel better short-term, but some foods are specifically good for targeting stress relief because of their properties. They work in different ways, but they include fruits like avocado, berries and oranges and seeds and nuts like pistachios and cashews, teas like green tea or chamomile, oysters, grass-fed beef or leafy greens. Although stress can tempt us towards processed sugars, they should be avoided. Feeding your craving with foods that will help you deal with your stress long-term is a better idea. But, whatever method you choose, be it one mentioned here or something else, start dealing with your stress today for a healthier future.
(Mercola, Dr Joseph. 11 March 2015.)