Stress affects physical health in more ways than we realize. How do you handle stress? Everyone will experience it in their life and the consequences of it.What can we do to stay healthy and lower how stress affects us, even though our life is stressful?
Studies show how we handle stress can affect our health.
First let’s look at how stress affects our health. Stress can cause:
High Blood Pressure
Elevated levels of Cortisol
Disrupt Hormone Cycles
Increase Visceral Fat (the kind that wraps around organs and shortens life)
Weakened Immune System
Women have more autoimmune diseases than men
Continued stress reduces nerve cell branches and lessons gray matter in the brain which causes less ability to cope with stress, increasing stress
When stress is chronic, and things become less stressful in your life, the effects of stress are harder to shut off. Coping with things like years of abuse, long-term illness, continual stress on the job, to many things to do and not enough time, all can contribute to chronic stress.
The good news is we have an assortment of things we can do to lower our stress!
When we use the therapeutic strategies for the brain listed below, and use them regularly, we may be able to grow new cell branches that have been damaged by stress. Science just blows me away sometimes.
Did you know that the brain can’t hold more than two emotions at once?
Many times I feel like I’m experiencing more than one emotion, but studies have shown that focusing on the positive aspects of your situation disallows the focus on the negative. It’s something that happens mindfully and develops with habitual use.
Yoga is another way to practice mindfulness
Yoga involves deep breathing which brings better circulation
Mindful meditation can change the brain’s structure by increasing gray matter and reduce stress. Twelve minutes a day of Mindful Yoga also reduces inflammation which contributes to many health problems. Exercising in natural surroundings is linked to major reductions in negative thinking which are a friend to stress.
When I take a walk in beautiful surroundings, I find it easier to forget about the negative things going on, because the beauty of nature enthralls me. Does this happen to you?
Laughing causes the body to release endorphins which are the feel good hormones.
Humor can also lead to more romantic connections.
Sounds like more comedy shows and movies, sharing jokes, and filling your time doing fun stuff. What makes you laugh?
Playing with my grandchildren usually brings some laughs. Sometimes, my husband says the funniest comments.
Sharing your stress with others helps lower how stress affects you physically
Friends should share what is causing them stress especially because sharing contributes to lower it. Nobody wants to be around a constant complainer but talking about it with a good friend is going to help you.
If you want to strengthen your friendships, expressing gratitude helps to lower relational stress also.
Think about how much better you have it than someone else. Gratitude will help you realize the people in your life that could use help with something, but it shows you some things you could be thankful for.
Nowhere in the book of good health does it say that the world owes you something. But if you look around you may realize there is plenty to be happy about.
Thankfulness gives you these improvements: increases life satisfaction
lowers blood pressure
strengthens the immune system
improves sleep quality
strengthens the immune system
improves conflict resolution skills
Helps the brain repair itself…….Amazing!
Suggestions: including women’s unique disposition to stress
Did you know women tend to brood longer over adverse events longer than men?
Brooding can cause depression and fuel the fire adding to stress and anxiety. It will also cause anti-social behavior and a host of other issues including those shared above. So this is what we need to do.
Learn how to pace our activities during the day so that we don’t stress, and adapt our living to
make it work. We may have to learn to accept we can’t do it all without physical damage to ourselves.
We are worth having a life with less stress. We are allowed not to be perfect in some ways to
Start looking at negative situations as a challenge. Sometimes there is no way out of a situation temporarily
or for a long time. Studies show when women see something as a challenge their outlook turns positive therefore lowering their stress levels.
Delegate some of our responsibilities. I plan on writing more about this in the future. We attempt to do so much
when we deserve to have equal responsibilities with our spouse, significant other, or other adults who may live with us.
Love yourself enough to explain calmly to them if something is unfair, and work out a plan to change it.
Remember, we are talking about your physical well being. For whatever reason when we can feel the pain physically we are more motivated to change it.