Stress is a natural part of the human existence. When we encounter danger, our bodies go into a response that gets us away safely. We are designed to reduce these hormones once the danger subsides.
We rarely face immediate dangers in our daily lives. That does not mean that stress is nonexistent. In fact, it’s the opposite. The threats to our nervous system are continuous, even if they only exist as perceived threats. You have heard the words, but they are worth repeating: Stress is bad for our health.
With 24 hour connectivity, the possibility for stressors is ever present. From the moment we awake, and into the wee hours of the night, and then onto dreamland, there is always something to contemplate. Work-related issues, having young children, or being unable to pay the bills without a quick cash loan are enough to keep anyone stressed.
There are two triangular shaped organs that sit atop both kidneys. Their primary job is to secrete hormones that are essential to managing stress. These adrenal glands communicate with the hypothalamus to receive orders for hormone release.
Epinephrine is released for the flight or fight response. It causes the heart rate to increase to move the blood supply to all extremities. It also increases blood sugar to give your muscles fuel to run faster and become stronger.
Norepinephrine is released when the epinephrine was not enough to resolve the threat. The blood vessels constrict causing the heart to pump harder. More glucose is increased in the blood and some fatty acids are released for more fuel.
When these two don’t deliver, Cortisol is released to complete the job. It will break down tissue and some muscle to give our bodies the fuel needed to survive. Prolonged stress keeps these levels high in the body.
The design is quite remarkable. Unless you adopt a hermetic lifestyle, stress in some form will always be a reality. There are ways to reduce stress. By adopting some practices, the effects of stress can be reduced and calm returned.
- Find the source of stress. For those who are married, this is not a suggestion to get divorced. If your spouse is the main trigger, find a way to cope via couples counseling before calling it quits. Many spouses feel that they have lost themselves. The intention was to go through life together, but life took a turn that left one person’s dreams in the back seat.
- Time management is a productive way to tackle the family work balance. If you have children there is certainly a cause to be overwhelmed. Trying to give them every opportunity can leave you completely drained. Create a predictable schedule along with some flex time for the unexpected moments. They are going to happen. Give yourself some breathing room.
- Make a commitment to eating healthy. Rather than over-complicate it by trying to find foods which have an association with reducing anxiety, simply focus on all-around nutritious foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Caring for aging parents is tough. It takes an emotional toll to watch a loved one slowly decline. Never do this alone. Talk to support groups. If you can’t find one start one. Sharing ideas and worries offers a place of release. Having emotional support from people who understand is priceless.
- Put yourself on your to-do list. If you look at it, you aren’t even on it. If you are, you are probably on the bottom. It’s easier said than done. Find a small block of time that belongs to you. Give yourself the freedom of your own thoughts and feelings. 10 minutes is much better than zero.
Stress is detrimental to our health. While it is not a silver bullet solution to staying healthy, finding ways to reduce stress is certain to be better for your body and mind. This involves finding the causes of stress in our lives and devising practical solutions for either eliminating them or managing them effectively.