The Negative Effects of Stress on Your Health
Everyone knows that too much stress can be bad for your health, but do you know what exactly it does to you and why you should learn to manage it?
Stress can cause you to feel worried, anxious, distracted and scattered, all of which can have negative impacts on your work and family life. It can also cause muscle loss, fat gain, irregular blood sugar, low immunity, decreased metabolism, and disrupt sleep and sex hormones.
Obviously there are many negative impacts, so finding ways to manage stress is a key factor in your health. Here are some of the ways in which you can manage or decrease your stress levels and improve your quality of life.
1. Practice parasympathetic activities.
a. Walking outside
b. Moderate sun exposure
c. Enjoying nature
d. Low-key music
f. Deep breathing
h. Snuggling with loved one/pet
i. Yoga & slow stretching
j. Easy swimming
k. Hot tub or sauna
l. Having sex
m. Non-competitive play
o. Green tea
a. Boosts the immune system
b. Improves sleep, mood, and emotional regulation, and circadian rhythm
c. Lowers blood pressure, heart rate, stress hormones, and inﬂammation
d. Supports the development of new brain cells, neural connections, and gray matter
e. Sharpens focus, mental clarity, attention, memory, and recall (even when not meditating)
3. Get outside
a. Being in nature lowers stress hormones and heart rate and improves mood and immunity, giving you motivation and energy to cope with your next challenge.
4. Balance your exercise routine.
a. Exercise relieves stress by increasing blood ﬂow, getting you outside, burning calories, and stimulating your parasympathetic nervous system.
b. Most effective: a mix of intense strength training, conditioning, cardio, and low intensity recovery.
c. When stressors are up, decrease intense exercise; when they’re down, increase it.
5. Practice self-compassion.
a. Ask for help/support when needed
b. Get coaching if you feel stuck
c. Get counseling if you feel helpless
d. Know your limits, honor them
e. Unplug at least once a week
How should you implement these activities to help you de-stress?
Start by setting goals. Commit to doing at least one of these actions regularly for the next two weeks. Make sure you’re confident that you can do it every day, and if you’re not, then pick a different activity.
Track your progress to make sure that it’s actually helping you. Makes notes each of day of how you feel. Do you feel any different? What have you learned and what frustrations did you have?
Spend time with a coach or mentor. Getting help from someone you admire, and who will hold you accountable, makes the process of change and growth much easier.
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