Excessive stress lies somewhere behind most troubles and illness. If your adrenalin runs at a high level for long periods, with little chance of appropriate action, your adrenal glands will become depleted. Your breathing will either become too rapid or will be restricted and shallow. Your digestion will be upset or strained in some way. If you feel nervous or queasy the first thing to do is to breathe more deeply and slowly. This will calm you down, settle your nerves and increase the supply of oxygen to your body.
Stress: What is it?
There is no running away from it. We all experience it to some degree as we go about our daily activities and interactions. In general, the body reacts to perceived threats by releasing adrenaline and other hormones. Our metabolic rate, blood pressure, and heart and respiratory rates increase, and blood rushes into the muscles. This is called the "fight-or fight" response. These hormones allow energy stored in the body to be released for use by the body. If they are not burnt off through physical exertion, they remain in the bloodstream and can cause problems.
Stress can be sudden or progressive. A feeling of lack of control over your life, a change in your financial situation, and excessive or continuous work demands or repetitive tasks can lead to stress. Studies suggest that the leading stressors are family and job demands, followed by excessive environmental noise.
Stress is manifested physically as muscle tension, headaches, lower back pain, insomnia and high blood pressure. Psychological symptoms of stress include irritability, anxiety, impaired concentration, poor judgement, frustration and anger. Unresolved stress can cause a sudden increase or decease in appetite, and the over consumption of alcohol or cigarettes.
Regular Exercise: Exercise can "burn off" stress-related chemicals released by our body. It aids in relaxation by producing endorphins, the "feel good" chemicals of the body. The best type of exercise is one with a repetitive rhythm, such as walking or jogging. By focusing your mind on the repetition, your mind has a chance to forget its worries and restore itself.
Daily focus on progressive relaxation: When we close our eyes and breathe deeply, while alternately tensing and relaxing our muscles, we can achieve a state of relaxation. Playing music and visualizing pleasant thoughts can also aid in relaxation, as they decrease respiratory, heart and metabolic rates.
Planning your time wisely: By prioritising our activities, we can have more control over our lives. Prioritising gives us time to concentrate on important matters while letting low priority maters slide. Make time for yourself to do things you like or to relax.
Tips to Decrease Stress
1) Nurture important relationships: close relationships are strongly associated with better immune function. Surround yourself with and confide in people you trust.
2) Eat a balanced diet: Curb the effects of stress by getting the nutrients your body needs for optimal health. Carbohydrates trigger the release of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is soothing to the body.
3) Learn to let go: There are many things in life that we can't control. Accept this fact. A positive attitude can help you control stress.
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