Health Tips : Reducing Stress to Promote Health

Finding ways to eliminate the triggers of stress will help you live life healthier and happier. Start slowly until you have mastered the skill of overcoming stress in your life!

Stress can be either a positive or a negative force. It can prompt you to accomplish things better like giving your best in a certain activity. However, stress can often be more of a negative force than a positive one.  An example of this is when a person is stuck in long traffic. Since lengthy periods of stress can become chronic, you need to do something before it destroys you.

The Normal Body Response

Stress affects your body and your mind.  Heart pounding while watching a scary movie or sweaty hands on your first date – these are signs that you are under stress.

Typically, your body reacts when it’s confronted with difficult situations and dangers. When this happens, hormones overflow into your body increasing your blood pressure and heart rate. If you’re confronted with many challenges such as paying bills and meeting deadlines, they can have severe effects on your health.  Similar things also happen if you come across other tough and urgent situations.

The Body’s Pressure Points

There are two types of stress:  minor and major stress. Minor stress, although brief, can bring in bad effects to your body.  To some people, a simple presentation is already enough to give them a stomachache. Major stresses like a hurricane, an earthquake, a fight with your spouse or a terrorist attack can even have bigger effects.

Abrupt emotional stresses, especially anger, can cause heart attacks, arrhythmias and even unexpected death.  Although this is common to people with heart disease, it can also happen to people who do not have any health issue.

Understanding Chronic Stress

Existing problems can worsen a certain condition because of stress. Chronic stress makes you smoke, overeat, keeps you awake at night, and other things that can disrupt your normal body function.  Oftentimes, when these things happen, they can lead to physical sickness. But when does chronic stress happen? It happens when you experience any of the following:

  • Low level of social support and depression. These forms of chronic stress make you susceptible to having cardiovascular disease.
  • A demanding job. A demanding job that requires less decision making also puts you at risk of developing coronary disease.
  • Type D personality. Type D personality is the combined emotions towards a negative feeling (like fear, irritability, sadness) and social inhibition (like reticence and a lack of self-confidence). Letter “D”signifies “distress.”
  • Difficulty from recovering from an illness. This condition is recurring because sickness seems to be too hard to cure.

 Chronic diseases diminish if you stop the habit of running negative thoughts in your mind

Coping with Stress

In spite of having no proofs that increased positive emotions can reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease, it is recommended to develop positive emotions like doing pleasurable activities each day to lighten the condition.

Chronic diseases diminish if you stop the habit of running negative thoughts in your mind. Therefore, learning how to minimize stress levels will not only make you feel better but will also help you deal with different problems.

Other Techniques to Reduce Stress

1.  Identify the cause of stress. Check the things that run through your mind all day. If you start feeling stressed:

  • write the cause, your anxiety and your mood
  • create a plan to address the cause of stress
  • set more practical expectations for yourself, family and friends (ask help with your job, household tasks, and other works)

Make sure to list all your obligations, evaluate your priorities, and remove other non-essential tasks.

2.  Form solid relationships. Although relationships can give you pressure, it can also help you cope up with stress. Your stress-sensitive hormones change immediately because of intimidating, negative reactions with your partner. Let your family members or close friends know you are having a difficult time. By reaching out, you may be able to get practical ideas, help, support, or a new perspective on how to handle things that stress you.

3.  Do not be a slave of anger. Count 1 to 10 before reacting, and then think again. Find some effective ways to let go of anger. Walking, running, biking and other physical activities can help vent off steam. Maintain a regular exercise regimen like walking, aerobics, biking and see how they promote better health. Exercise helps increase endorphin production, which makes you feel good.

4.  Calm your mind. Nearly 40% of America’s adult population has difficulty sleeping at night due to stress. To make sure you’ll have a sound sleep, minimize caffeine intake and eliminate disturbances like laptop or TV. Set a regular time each night to sleep. Yoga, relaxation exercises and meditation will not only help in minimizing stress but are also good for building a stronger immune system. Remember, adequate sleep is necessary for your brain and body to function well and to wake up refreshed.

5.  Seek professional help. Find a good psychologist. You can ask friends or your relatives for referrals. Psychologists are the proper persons to talk to if you feel beaten physically or confused. These professional practitioners can help identify the behaviors or situations that lead to your chronic stress. By assessing these factors, they can devise an action plan to modify your activities.

Day-to-day stress can leave your physical health a big mess. Don’t wait until stress harms your relationships, health and quality of living.

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