Stress affects physical health in more ways than we realize. Did you know stress also affects women differently than men? How do you handle stress? What can we do to lower stress?
Let’s look at 12 ways stress affects our health. Stress can cause:
1. High Blood Pressure
2. High Cholesterol
3. Heart Troubles
5. Elevated levels of Cortisol – Find out more about how Cortisol levels contribute to Cellulite and what to do about it here.
6. Disrupt Hormone Cycles
7. Increase Visceral Fat (the kind that wraps around organs and shortens life). Using a special scales can help you to keep track of the amount of fat in your body
8. Insulin Resistance
9. Weakened Immune System
10. Women have more autoimmune diseases than men
11. Increased Appetite
12. Weight Gain
An easy way to combat weight gain and the stress of planning and shopping for healthy meals is the $5 Meal Plan. If you sign up you will receive the meal plans and grocery list to go with it for only $5 a month. They have several specialty plans also.
There are things we can do, even in the midst of stressful times, to prevent stress from affecting our health.
1. Exercise has the most impact on relieving stress. It gives us the strength and energy we need to plan how we use our time. Exercise also helps us stay on top of negative thoughts and the way we look at the situations in our life that can cause the effects of stress.
Yoga is another way to practice mindfulness and lower stress.
2. 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. Negative thinking is a friend to stress. Yoga’s popularity has grown in recent years, and I like it because it doesn’t take a gym full of equipment to do it. You only need comfortable clothes, a soft spot or mat, plenty of water, and some peaceful surroundings. I like to enhance my surroundings with incense even when I’m not doing yoga. And I’m sure you have a pair of comfortable sweatpants or yoga pants that you probably wear around the house.
Women’s unique disposition to stress
Did you know women tend to brood longer over adverse events longer than men?
3. Avoid Brooding because it 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. Try to do what you can to change this habit.
4. 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 be healthier.
5. 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.
6. Delegate some of our responsibilities. 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.
7. Start coping with stress now to prevent the inability to cope with lesser stress later. Stop the cycle. Continued stress reduces nerve cell branches and lessons gray matter in the brain which causes less ability to cope with stress, therefore increasing stress. As life goes on, when stress is chronic, and things become less stressful in your life, the effects of stress become harder to shut off. Coping with things like years of abuse, long-term illness, continual stress on the job, too many things to do and not enough time, all can contribute to chronic stress.
Click here to read my personal story of living with stress for years.
This book also talks in depth of how to rise above a variety of stresses
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.
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 in this list, 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.
8. 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
9. Talk about your problems. Friends should share what is causing them stress especially because sharing contributes to lower stress. 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 contributes to lowering relational stress also.
Here is a way to help others with high levels of stress in their life
10. Be Thankful. 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, and it shows you some things you could be thankful to have. 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
11. Get the highest quality of sleep possible. There are many aids for sleep available today. You might need black out window shades if you work at night, a better mattress, or some white noise in the background.
Good Sleep quality helps:
Strengthens the immune system
Improves conflict resolution skills
Helps the brain repair itself…….Amazing!
This Day-Light UV Filtered White Therapy Lamp helps with sleep disorders, winter blues, and adjusting to shift work sleep changes. Be sure to read the instructions because there is a limited time recommendation for these lights.
The sound of sleep memory pillow gives additional support and comfort, relieving pressure and it has built in speakers.
12. Allow imperfection in your life.
Allow yourself, family, and others to be imperfect.
Stop stressing over an imperfect home.
We should be easier on ourselves and accept imperfection in some ways to be healthier.
We are worth having a life with less stress.