I get it. Life is stressful sometimes. Everyday stressful situations happen at home and at work through difficult relationships, uncertain finances, your own illness or that of a loved one and dealing with the crowded uncertain conditions of modern life. Pollution, improper foods, irregular eating habits, or not enough physical activity only serves to increase chronic stress.
Our body’s response to chronic stress is the same as its response to acute stress- our heart rate, blood pressure, and blood sugar goes up, and our body is ready for action. Other functions that are not “needed” for immediate action are shut down, including our digestion, sex hormone production, immune system, and circulation to nonessential areas. This stress system, which allows us to take action in times of acute stress makes us sick in the case of chronic stress. Inflammation caused by our body’s response to stress increases the likelihood of all the chronic diseases that are so common today- diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and chronic pain.
The good news is that the negative health effects vary according to how we respond to stress. If we see the stress as a challenge we can handle, it energizes us. It is when that stress becomes overwhelming and causes severe distress that leads to the greatest negative health effects. Direct health benefits come from learning to manage our level of stress through many different ways.
A number of colleagues of mine have spent years learning ways to help their clients manage stress. The following articles give examples of ways I was able to reduce my own stress during my son’s acute illness. I use many of these techniques even today.
Check out the following articles:
Ten Self-care Strategies to Soothe Your Stress (by Julie Alexander)
I’m sure there are more ways you have used to successfully reduce your reaction to stress. Why don’t you head over to our Living Well Connections private facebook group and share your ideas. We would love to learn more.
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