Stress” is a word you hear a lot. You hear it, you feel it, you notice it, but what is stress, really? Stress occurs when you get mad, get scared, think you might be in some kind of trouble, or sense danger.
Your body can experience many symptoms in times of stress like tense muscles, fast shallow breathing, elevated heart rate, and the release of stress hormones. These hormones are adrenaline and cortisol.
Stress, in itself, is not necessarily a bad thing. It serves a purpose for us, as humans, namely to protect us from danger and aid in our escape. In less modern times, stressful events were often life-threatening. These events may have included being chased by a bear, fending off a rattlesnake, or running away from enemies. Now, the things that tax our systems are often traffic jams, a fight with another person, a looming deadline, and other artificial stressors.
All this would be okay if it didn’t happen on a regular basis. The problems begin when these things continue to happen on a daily basis and we never get any relief. This is known as “chronic stress”. Now, it’s no longer a seldom occurrence where fight or flight is a real necessity. It’s a daily occurrence and the chronic stress becomes damaging in the long run.
Chronic, prolonged levels of stress become harmful over time. Stress can show up in many ways on your body including tense muscles, muscle cramps and spasms, weight loss or weight gain, grouchiness, breakouts, hair loss, insomnia, depression, anger, and more. It’s not a situation one should ignore or take lightly.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to reduce the levels of stress in your life. You might want to stop for a minute and think about what things in your life are causing you stress, and whether or not you can change them or eliminate them completely from your life. Once you pinpoint the things or people causing your discomfort, you’ll be started in the right direction. You’ll already feel better knowing that you are on your way to minimizing your stress levels.
Figure out if the stressor is something you’re capable of changing yourself. If so, then take action and do it. If you can’t change it yourself, what do you need to do in order to change the situation; who do you need to contact? If the thing or things causing you stress can’t be changed or removed from your life, you will have to deal with the stress.
What are some things you can do that are stress-relieving? My first recommendation is exercise. The value of exercise is often underestimated. Exercise helps your body relax and feel good by releasing endorphins into your system. Endorphins are peptides in your body that help you have a feeling of well-being or pleasure. Exercise also helps you get or maintain a healthy body weight so all your organs can function normally. Other stress-busting tactics include meditation, massage, yoga, stretching, laughter, petting your dog or cat, and many more.
Other helpful habits to develop include planning your day in advance so you’re not rushed, getting rid of clutter in your surroundings, and getting in touch with your emotions and reactions to situations.
Stress in unavoidable. However, it can be good in small amounts and if channeled in the right direction. When you become overwhelmed, though, it’s time to take action. Try some of the suggestions above and hopefully you, too, can experience some calm and relief in your life as well.
About author: Stefanie O’Donnell is an author specializing in Women’s Fitness and Body Transformations. Her website, http://www.CougarFitnessBlog.com focuses on hot fit women who aren’t in their twenties but look like they could be! Visit the site for cutting edge info on nutrition, training, motivation and more.