Living a stress-free life is almost impossible, as stress is a natural reaction to undesirable circumstances. A certain amount of stress can be beneficial and at times quite motivating, however, this is only true if there is an adequate respite and recovery period after each and every stress incident.
Our modern lifestyles make this scenario very hard to come by. Too much persistent stress (chronic stress) can have very negative effects on both your emotional and physical health. It is important to manage stress in a healthy way to prevent it from affecting your overall well-being.
Instead of aiming for life without experiencing stress, which is almost impossible, we can learn how to manage our stress. Practicing how to relax should not be difficult, but making the time to relax often gets in the way in our ‘stress-filled’ days.
One way you can relax your body is to take deep breaths. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Breathe deep down into your diaphragm. While you focus on your breath, try to think of pleasant thoughts so you can clear your mind of what is causing you stress.
Mindfulness is another way you can keep your stress levels down. Practice focusing on what is happening right now, instead of worrying about what happened yesterday or the day before, or even what may happen tomorrow! Mindfulness can help you relax and reduce your anxiety levels.
Having a healthy lifestyle free from poor habits, consuming a well-balanced diet, and exercising regularly can also help ensure that your stress levels are kept in check.
If you don’t take care of your stress levels, you will soon be dealing with ill effects on your health. This is why it is so important to not suffer from chronic stress.
Stress Causes Many Health Problems
Stress can manifest in different ways, ranging from physical aches and pain, irritable bowel and stomach upset, a decrease in energy, mood swings, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and more. It is also one of the leading causes of several life-threatening diseases, one of which is heart disease.
Millions of people all over the world, from all walks of life, have been diagnosed with a heart condition. Most of the cases can be linked to chronic stress. To understand the link between stress and heart health, it is important to take a look at how our bodies react to stress.
Whenever we encounter a stressful situation, there’s an alarm system in the brain that is set off. It releases stress-related hormones cortisol and adrenaline. The presence of these hormones in the body causes our heart rate to increase and our blood sugar levels to spike. Once the threat is gone, the body slowly goes back to its normal state, unless it is triggered by another stress-inducing event.
Heart health is often linked to stress. The real connection between our cardiovascular system and chronic stress is not yet fully established, although, there is no question that stress affects our hearts. It is well-known that experiencing sudden extreme stress can lead to a heart attack. Acute stress, such as receiving traumatic news, may lead to cardiac arrest.
The usual daily stresses that we most often deal with can lead to chronic stress. Chronic stress, because of the constant release of cortisol, can cause persistently elevated blood pressure levels.
High blood pressure is one factor that can contribute to heart disease. Cortisol also elevates blood sugar levels, which can also be another contributor to health issues, including the cardiovascular system.
Stress can also cause insomnia, so if quality sleep is lacking, the risk of high blood pressure increases, further connecting stress to being a contributing factor to the health of the heart.
How we cope with stress is also a factor that can be linked to heart disease. Some people turn to unhealthy habits, such as excessive alcohol consumption, overeating comfort foods, smoking, and recreational drugs, in an attempt to deal with their stress levels.
However, all these poor health habits can lead to increased damage to the artery walls and the buildup of plaque in the heart. Plaque buildup makes it difficult for the blood to circulate properly and can even lead to blockages in the arteries. This all contributes to a possible heart attack.
If you want to live longer, then do whatever you can to lower your stress levels and avoid it from controlling your health. It is worth your time and effort to find ways that allow you to destress in a healthy manner.