Work demands, financial pressures, family problems, and many other things can cause stress. Luckily, there is a low-cost, fast-acting, and highly effective treatment available. It’s called “relaxation,” and the directions are simple: for maximum effectiveness, use as often as needed.
Stress does not merely afflict your mind; it can also affect you on a cellular level. In fact, long-term stress can lead to a wide range of illnesses – from headaches to stomach disorders to depression – and can even increase the risk of serious conditions like stroke and heart disease. Understanding the mind/stress/health connection can help you better manage stress and improve your health and well-being.
When you perceive a threat, stress hormones rush into your bloodstream—increasing heart rate, blood pressure, and glucose levels. Other hormones also suppress functions like digestion and the immune system, which is one of the reasons why chronic stress can leave you more vulnerable to illness.
Danger triggers the stress response – but, unfortunately, so can work conflicts, worry over debt, bad memories, or anxiety. Although one bad day at work won’t compromise your health, weeks or months of stress can dampen your immune response and raise your risk for disease.
• Recognize when you don’t have control, and let it go.
• Don’t get anxious about situations that you cannot change.
• Take control of your own reactions, and focus on what makes you feel calm and in control. This may take some practice, but it pays off in peace of mind.
• Develop a vision for healthy living, wellness, and personal- professional growth and set realistic goals to help you realize
Relax and Recharge
Be sure to make time for fun and relaxation so you’ll be better able to handle life’s stressors. Carve some time out of your day – even 10 to 15 minutes – to take care of yourself. Also, remember that exercise is an excellent stress reliever.
Everyone has different ways they like to relax and unwind. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
• Take a walk
• Read a book
• Go for a run
• Have a cup of tea
• Play a sport
• Spend time with a friend or loved one
• Do yoga
While you can’t avoid stress, you can minimize it by changing how you choose to respond to it. The ultimate reward for your efforts is a healthy, balanced life, with time for work, relationships, relaxation, and fun.
Source: From the Federal Occupational Health of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services