The Impact of Chronic Stress on Your Health – Strategies For Stress Management

The Impact of Chronic Stress on Your Health – Strategies For Stress Management

Stress is a normal part of life, but too much of it can have adverse health consequences. Prolonged levels of chronic stress have been linked with high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and obesity among other health issues.

Stress comes in all shapes and forms; from work stress to an argument with loved ones. To combat it successfully, learning how to effectively manage it is key.

1. Exercise

Chronic stress from jobs, finances and relationships can lead to unhealthy behaviors like poor diet choices, unhealthy coping habits and not getting enough rest – all contributing to an increase in disease risks and reduced quality of life.

Stress causes the body to release adrenaline and cortisol into your system to prepare you for fight or flight responses, increasing heart rate, blood pressure and pumping glucose into muscles for energy production. These hormones raise heart rate and blood pressure before also pumping glucose directly into them for fuel.

These reactions may not always be detrimental, but when repeated on an ongoing basis they can become damaging to both body and mind. Exercise can help mitigate these side effects and stop them from becoming health issues; any type of physical activity counts!

2. Eat a Healthy Diet

Stressful feelings may be common at times, but prolonged and persistent tension can become an ongoing problem that threatens both physical and mental health. Chronic anxiety has been linked to issues including heart conditions, muscle and digestive ailments.

Your body’s natural fight or flight response activates when stressed, prompting an increase in heart rate and blood pressure quickly in order to prepare you for action. While this response could potentially save your life in dangerous situations, prolonged exposure can have damaging long-term effects.

Stressful times often bring on cravings for sugary and fatty foods, providing instant energy but eventually leading to weight gain and heart disease. Opting for a healthier diet can help ease tension while protecting against these health issues.

3. Get Enough Sleep

Get plenty of restful sleep to alleviate stress. Plan to go to bed early, without caffeine or alcohol close to sleep time; this will ensure a restful night’s rest so you wake up feeling rejuvenated!

Though a small amount of stress may be helpful in meeting a deadline, prolonged exposure to it can become dangerous, leading to weight gain, depression, heart disease and memory loss.

Stress causes our bodies to release hormones that cause muscles to tighten up and heart rate to increase; both normal responses that could save your life in an emergency situation; but when this release of chemicals happens on an ongoing basis, they can damage multiple organs and even lead to cancer.

4. Practice Relaxation Techniques

Stress can lead to many health issues, from high blood pressure and heart disease to decreased productivity and insomnia. Learning relaxation techniques is a great way to ease tension levels and enhance overall wellness.

Learn a variety of relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, visualizing, meditation and yoga to activate the body’s natural “relaxation response,” thereby slowing your heart rate and breathing rate, lowering blood pressure and creating feelings of peace and serenity.

Stress management requires trying various relaxation techniques and practicing them for at least 20 minutes every day for maximum effects. Different techniques may work better for some than others, so finding one that suits you is key – if one method does not feel right to you speak to your physician about other solutions available to you.

5. Seek Counseling

Stressful situations happen from time to time; but, if the feelings of anxiety, tension or nervousness continue, resulting in headaches, muscle tightness or chest flutters; craving chocolate but being unable to consume any; or impacting daily functioning negatively, seek assistance from a mental health provider (counselor, doctor or otherwise).

Stressful situations often trigger a rapid physiological reaction, raising blood pressure, speeding up heartbeat and pumping adrenaline through your system. While this “fight or flight” response was once vital in helping our ancestors escape danger such as saber-toothed tigers, prolonged alertness can put your health at risk and reduce overall productivity.

Therapists can assist in pinpointing specific sources of stress in your life and teaching healthier ways to cope. Most counseling sessions last 6-8 sessions.

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