How Stress Impacts Your Health and 5 Tips to Help De-Stress

By on April 4, 2017
How Stress Impacts Your Health and 5 Tips to Help De-Stress

By Barney Whistance –

Stress is accepted as a part of life today, however, many people don’t realize the affects chronic stress can have on your health.

Being under stress regularly can have a negative impact on digestion, glucose production, cholesterol levels, blood pressure and functionality of your brain. 

If your health was not your priority before your 50s then it’s essential you put it on top of your list post-50s. 

If you find yourself yawning excessively, regularly suffering from stomach pain and headaches, you are very likely experiencing stress. 

How chronic stress affects your body

Constant release of cortisol

Your body’s response to an acute, fight or flight situation is to increase the blood flow to your muscles and functions like digestion and reproduction.

Cortisol is a stress hormone which is released by the adrenal glands when the brain senses tension.

The purpose of cortisol is to provide you with energy when you need it most. It’s most active during highly charged situations but can also spike during specific parts of the day which are slightly more stressful. For example, when you wake up in the morning, your brain requires some release of cortisol to help you get out of bed and face the day.

However, being under stress constantly leads to the steady release of cortisol, meaning you aren’t able to detect its highs and lows and aren’t able to get the boost of energy you need.

Weakens your immune system

The release of cortisol triggers your immune system but if cortisol is consistently present in your body, then the immune system quits responding to it. This resistance of cortisol that develops make your body more vulnerable to illnesses.

A study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburg found that participants that underwent a period of stress were the most susceptible to colds. When purposefully exposed to the virus, these individuals were most likely to develop colds.

More vulnerable to disease

Although there is not enough evidence yet but chronic stress has been associated with cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, auto-immune diseases and upper-respiratory infections and poor wound healing. Chronic stress has also been found to speed up the spread of the disease for those who have already been diagnosed.

Memory Loss

One of the greatest effects of stress is how it inhibits the brain’s functionality. In addition to poor concentration and increased confusion, stress also causes memory loss. Memory loss is a part of aging but stress causes disruption in the prefrontal cortex which speeds up the process.

 

To ensure you are physically healthy, here are a few ways you can de-stress.

1. Meditate

Beginning your day with mindful meditation helps clear your head of all the clutter, allows you to settle your thoughts and enhances your ability to focus. Mindful meditation is essentially the training and strengthening of your brain so it is unaffected by the negativity in your surroundings, letting you focus on what truly matters.

 2. Eat foods that help with stress

Some foods are known to relieve stress while a diet high on junk food can worsen your moods.

The trans-fatty acids found in junk foods not only clog arteries but also cause depression. The body functions on a specific ratio of fatty acids. Constant consumption of junk food leads to an imbalance which increases the chances of depression. Junk foods lack omega 3 fatty acids and create a mental state which triggers anxiety.

On the other hand, foods like berries, fish, asparagus, spinach, avocado, oatmeal and specific teas are all known to reduce stress. Incorporating these foods into your daily diet will keep your mental state balanced.

3. Take long weekends

Who doesn’t like some time off? Sometimes a long weekend is all you need to refresh your mind. If you’re not someone who travels during holidays then spread your paid leaves across the months and use them to extend your weekends.

You can choose to staycation at home, head to the spa or go for a short vacation with a loved one, either way, make sure you disconnect yourself from your workplace (or whatever is the cause of your stress).

4. Escapism

To reset your mind, psychologists suggest you engage in some form of escapism. Escapism refers to pulling your brain out of the stresses of daily life and immersing yourself into a more enjoyable experience, like a movie, concert, art exhibitions, book or a sporting event.

The purpose is to give yourself a much-needed break from stressful situations and reenergize your mind.

5. Massage and Facials

Massage therapy can lower your blood pressure and heart rate. They also loosen up your muscles and promote the production of endorphins in your body. Serotonin and dopamine are also released during massages, making you feel relaxed and calm, combatting any feelings of stress you may have.

You should consider going for a massage at least once every month to rid you of negative energy and toxins.

By the time your 50, you need to put in more of an effort into looking after yourself, because these years will determine your health in the near future. A healthy mind will lead to a healthier body, which leads to healthier you in your senior years.

“Barney Whistance is a passionate finance and lifestyle blogger who loves to write about prevailing trends. He is a featured author at various authoritative blogs in the health and finance industry and currently, he is associated as a blogger for Centra Care Florida, an urgent care center in Orlando and neighboring cities including Conway, Longwood, Orange Lake and others”

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How Stress Impacts Your Health and 5 Tips to Help De-Stress