Stress is the body’s way of reacting to threats and demands. When the body senses danger, real or imagined, it automatically initiates the defense mechanism. This mechanism is also known as the flight or fight response.
The defense process protects you by increasing your heartbeat, strengthening your stamina, and enhancing your focus. This makes you more alert, energetic, and focused; preparing you for either fight or flee. In case of an emergency, stress can help you get out of danger by giving you extra energy to defend yourself. For instance, stress can spur you to slam the brakes to avoid a car accident.
The Effects of Stress
The nervous system cannot distinguish between physical threats and emotional upsets. Therefore, if you are stressed after arguing with your colleague, your body reacts as strongly as it would if you are facing a life or death situation. The more the stress process is activated, the easier it becomes to trigger, which makes it hard to shut off. The world is so demanding, and people are likely to be stressed all the time. This can lead to serious health problems. Chronic stress affects every process in the body. Here are some of the effects of stress:
- It suppresses the immune system
- It affects the reproductive and digestive system
- Increases the chance of a heart attack
- Speeds up the aging process
- It can rewrite the brain
- It leaves you at a higher risk of mental illnesses
In addition, stress exacerbates other health problems such as depression, anxiety, skin conditions, and memory problems. Here are some of the tips to overcome stress effects.
How to Fight Stress Effects
Since stress is inevitable, you have to learn to deal with it.
- Get Adequate Sleep
Stress is one of the major causes of insomnia. Lack of sleep has adverse effects on your body. To alleviate these effects, make sure you get the recommended eight hours of sleep every night. According to www.nightnod.com, everyone needs the right amount of sleep to perform optimally. Some people need more hours than others. To ensure you get adequate sleep despite the stressful situation, you need to create an environment that improves your sleeping patterns. First, remove all technological devices from your bedroom since they have lights that reduce the production of melatonin, a hormone responsible for sleep.
Tea has been known to induce sleep. Therefore, you can sip a cup of herbal tea before heading to bed. Green tea has less caffeine, and it contains healthy antioxidants and theanine, an amino acid that calms the nervous system. A good mattress plays a vital role in the quality of sleep you get per night.
- Maintain a Social Support Network
If you are experiencing stress at work, take a break to call a friend or a relative, and talk about your problems. Maintaining your social network is essential for a healthy lifestyle. Friends come in handy, especially when you are facing stressful moments in your life. A reassuring and comforting voice can put everything into perspective.
The simple act of talking with another person triggers the release of hormones that relieves stress. When you are stressed, spend more time with people who alleviate your moods. During your stressful moments, avoid people who might anger you or make you more miserable.
- Exercise Regularly
Exercise can reduce memory problems in people with chronic stress. Physical activity is not limited to weightlifting at the gym. A short walk around your home or office or taking the stairs can offer immediate relief. When you move around, blood circulation improves, and the body releases endorphins which are the “feel good” hormones.
Regular exercises also offer a distraction from worries, and this helps you break the cycle of negative thoughts and feelings. Rhythmic gymnastics are effective as you focus on the sensations you experience as you move your body.
There are many forms of therapy, including aromatherapy and music therapy. If you are overwhelmed by a stressful situation, go to a relaxed place and listen to your favorite music. Playing calm music has good effects on the body and the brain. Music is known to reduce cortisol hormone and lowers blood pressure. For starters, try cello master Yo-Yo Ma playing Bach. However, if classical is not your thing, nature sounds such as ocean sounds will do the trick.
When stress hits high levels, it is no longer beneficial to your body. It damages your mood, health, relationships, and overall quality of life. If you are feeling overwhelmed, you need to take control of your body to bring the nervous system back to normal.