Cheat Sheet for Reducing Stress: 5 Quick Tips
Ah, stress. It’s certainly easy to find…at work, with family members, with finances, on social media, etc. Some stress is ok—even good for you. Since stress is the body’s reaction to harmful situations, an actual chemical reaction occurs in your body that allows you to act in a way to prevent injury. This reaction is known as “the stress response” (or “fight-flight-or freeze”). When faced with this kind of stress, your heart rate increases, muscles tighten, and blood pressure rises. Your body gets into a physical state of self-protection.
However, too much stress is not good for you. Stress affects the mind and body and can affect your emotional, behavioral and physical health. Ongoing and chronic stress can do permanent damage in any of these areas. Such permanent issues are:
- Mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD
- Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease, high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, heart attacks, and stroke
- Obesity and other eating disorders
- Menstrual problems
- Sexual dysfunction, such as impotence and premature ejaculation in men and loss of sexual desire in both men and women
- Skin and hair problems, such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema, and permanent hair loss
- Gastrointestinal problems, such as GERD, gastritis, ulcerative colitis, and irritable colon
We usually can’t control the stress in our lives—it is a part of life. However, dealing with stress can be in your control and here are some quick, helpful tips to help you cope:
Yes, just breathe. Take a deep breath, hold it for 4 seconds and then, let your breath out for another 4 seconds. Do you know a single breath in and out is considered a meditation? Taking a few minutes to focus on your breathing immediately relaxes you. Deep breathing immediately lowers the harmful effects of the stress hormone cortisol on your body. It lowers your heart rate, your blood pressure and even detoxifies your body. All good things come from something as simple as breathing.
In addition to relaxing your breathing, think about slowing down in general. Multi-tasking is ok, but constant activity not only increases stress, but also lends itself to making mistakes and even accidents. Think about approaching your tasks throughout the day at a slower pace. Try not to rush through things. You’ll be better able to appreciate each moment and you’ll even improve your communication and your relationships.
Get to Bed Early
As Benjamin Franklin said, ‘Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man, healthy, wealthy and wise’. A good night’s sleep encourages heart health and lowers blood pressure. Not only does adequate sleep strengthen your immune system, it improves memory, reduces anxiety and depression, helps you drive better and makes you just feel great! Go to bed early tonight and have a less stressful day tomorrow.
Among the MANY benefits of drinking water, staying hydrated keeps you thinking straight and steady. Drinking water cushions the brain, spinal cord, and other sensitive tissues. Not keeping yourself hydrated can affect brain structure and function. It is also involved in the production of hormones and neurotransmitters. Not drinking enough water can lead to problems with clear thinking and reasoning.
Choose to Be Happy
It’s a choice? Yes, it’s a choice. Although it’s WAY easier to focus on what’s wrong, practice noticing what’s already going well in your life. Make a concerted effort to look for the positives and be grateful for the things you have—as opposed to what you don’t have. Take it a step further and look for the opportunity in adversity. Try to turn situations around. The more you look at life through a positive lens, the less stress you’ll experience.
About The Life Solution Center of Darien
Problems are a normal part of living. The Life Solution Center of Darien, a one-of-a-kind community of independent businesses and practices, was created to help you prevent the problems you can and tackle the ones you can’t.
As approved by our clients, our professionals work together to provide the highest and most thorough level of care for those going through any type of life transition. Contact us today at (203) 636-0080 or go to www.thelifesolutioncenter.net