Why We Should Reduce Our Stress

gratitude

We all feel stress in different ways and at different levels. Stress may be acute or only last a short period of time. Or it may be prolonged and chronic.

We may experience stress on our bodies physically. If we are ill or injured or undertaking a physically stressful activity such as running a marathon.

We may also experience it mentally or emotionally. This stress, many if not all of us are all too familiar with. Probably not a day goes by when someone you know mentions they are stressed. Or someone you know is stressed. Or work is stressful. Or the bills are piling up and that's stressful. It seems standard in our world today to be under constant stress or pressure. It almost feels like we have to be stressed. Maybe we aren't doing enough or putting in enough effort if we aren't stressed! This may be mental or emotional stress but it can have very physical effects on our body. 

Do you feel stress? What areas of your life cause it for you? What affect do you think it has on your wellbeing?

Some telltale signs you may be experiencing chronic stress are:

  • Feeling tired despite getting adequate sleep
  • Battling with constant or frequent illness
  • Feeling depressed, sad, anxious
  • Reduced libido
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Upset stomach, diarrhoea, constipation, bloating
  • Low energy

Stress over prolonged periods wreaks havoc on the normal functioning of our body systems. It can keep us trapped in a flight or fight response thinking we are in danger, in survival mode. Not allowing our body to relax and feel at ease and return to normal functioning. When our body perceives a threat - say someone jumps out and scares you. Your body releases hormones adrenalin and cortisol. Adrenalin increases your heart rate and blood pressure increasing your energy and alertness. Cortisol provides the body with glucose again increasing energy available. It also curbs normal functioning systems that are deemed unnecessary in that moment to survive such as gastrointestinal functioning, immune system response, reproductive processes. You can imagine if our body is spending more and more time in this state, it is unable to get on with these other important functions. 

Chronic or prolonged stress can increase your risk of:

  • Diabetes
  • Headaches
  • Heart Disease
  • Depression and Anxiety 
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Obesity
  • Sleep problems

So now that you know how to identify chronic stress and the increased risk this brings to so many areas of your health and wellbeing. We had better get down some everyday ways you can start to reduce your stress. 

Ways to Reduce Your Stress Today:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat a healthy, well balanced diet
  • Take time out to relax and separate yourself from things that may be getting you stressed
  • Practice gratitude
  • Seek professional help and counselling
  • Utilise good sleep hygiene
  • Practice self love/care rituals
  • Foster healthy and supportive relationships with friends and family

If after reading this blog you feel that you may have chronic stress or are at risk of a chronic disease. Please seek advice from your General Practitioner. 

Anna Lawrence