Why controlling stress is important for health
Reducing stress in your daily life can make you happier, improve your mood, immune function, and promote longevity. This feeling is a response of the human body to a stimulus, due to stressful situations that we go through daily.
It can be difficult to notice right away, but stress can have a noticeable effect on the body. From tense muscles and headaches to irritations, it affects physical, mental, and emotional health.
In many cases, you will feel the effects of stress immediately. But, there are other ways in which the body responds, such as weight gain, that can take time to be noticed.
When you get stressed, your brain goes through chemical and physical changes that affect your overall functioning. Thus, during stressful periods, certain chemicals in the brain, including the neurotransmitters dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine, begin to rise. What causes the release of adrenal glands by larger amounts of these, and other “fight or flight” hormones, such as adrenaline.
The release of these substances contributes to certain physiological effects, including rapid heartbeat, higher blood pressure, and a weakened immune system. When left uncontrolled over time, chronic stress can lead to the development of other serious problems, such as stomach ulcers, stroke, asthma, and heart disease.
In addition to the physical effects, it can also contribute to mental and emotional disorders, including anxiety, phobias, and panic attacks. In this way, emotional stress can make focusing, decision-making, reflection, or remembering difficult.
What are the signs of mental stress?
Among the main signs of stress are:
- Lack of concentration;
- Distant and troubled thoughts;
- Feeling helpless in the face of situations, even the simplest ones.
Due to the lack of concentration, you lose a good part of your cognitive capacity, which can affect your motor coordination, the quality of your sleep, and even your sexual desire. If you have a high level of stress it can even damage your libido, showing a decrease in affective and loving performance when it comes to sex.
What to do to control stress
To combat stress and anxiety it is important to reduce external pressures, finding alternatives so that work or study can be carried out more smoothly. It is also indicated to find the emotional balance, being able to better manage the time between work, family, and personal dedication.
Seeking support from others like a good friend, or even a psychologist, can also be a good strategy for living your days with more quality and less stress.
Therefore, we indicate some guidelines that you can follow to combat stress and anxiety:
Investing in at least 30 minutes daily to do some kind of physical exercise brings benefits to emotions, a time to think about problems and find strategies to solve them, decreases the amount of cortisol, which is a stress-related hormone, and even releases endorphins into the bloodstream that promote well-being.
The most suitable exercises are aerobic and the least recommended are those of competition because they can aggravate stress. It is possible to start with walks on the street, in the square, on the beach or riding a bicycle, for example., But if possible, enroll in a gym to feel more motivated to make this habit frequent.
Eat the right foods
Banana, walnuts, and peanuts are some examples of foods that promote physical well-being and therefore you should invest in their consumption daily, increasing the amount, whenever you are tired or stressed. The foods rich in omega 3 such as salmon, trout, and chia seeds are also excellent choices because they improve the functioning of the nervous system, reducing stress and mental exhaustion.
Have a Rest
Physical and mental fatigue are triggers of stress and anxiety, so having time to get rest every night is a great help to de-stress. Taking advantage of the weekends to be able to relax a little and rest can also help, but if that is not enough, you may need to take a few days of weekend vacation every 3 months, in a place that you like and that you can rest peacefully.
Massages can also help fight muscle tension, bringing relief from back pain and a feeling of heaviness in the head and neck. Watch the following video on how to beat insomnia:
Invest in natural tranquilizers
Anxiolytics should only be taken when directed by your doctor, however, several natural herbal remedies can be useful to help calm the nervous system. Some examples are valerian or passion fruit capsules and lavender or chamomile teas, which when ingested regularly can help you get a restful night’s sleep. Dripping 2 drops of lavender essential oil on the pillow can also help to calm and sleep more easily.
When these seem not to be enough to control stress or anxiety, you should go to the general practitioner so that he can investigate the need and recommend the use of antidepressants, for example.
Have a therapy
Relaxation techniques can help to calm and regain emotional balance, so it may be a good idea to see a psychotherapist when you feel you cannot overcome your emotional problems alone.
This professional will be able to indicate some strategies to calm down and will promote self-knowledge, which is of great help to be able to determine what the person wants. That way she can find a way to solve the problems.
Have time for leisure
It can also be useful to find some time to dedicate yourself to leisure, being with people you like. Sometimes it is enough to walk a few minutes barefoot on the grass or the beach sand, as it relieves tension and acts with a type of foot massage.
Manage time better
Also, another strategy that helps a lot in combating stress is to better manage time by defining tasks, objectives, and priorities. This task can sometimes be the most difficult to achieve, but taking small steps at a time can be more effective than waiting for a solution that will never come.
If the person adopts these strategies, he may feel a difference, achieving improvement in the symptoms of stress and anxiety such as frequent headache, tiredness, and discouragement, in about 10 days. However, the person may feel better soon after exercising and having a good night’s sleep.
How have you managed to stay positive?