Pin-pointing the sources of stress in your life and learning how to manage them can greatly improve your overall health!
You’d be surprised just how much stress can affect our overall health. From mental health to heart health and even our appearance, it’s important to make sure we are taking time to de-stress. No matter where it comes from, stress affects our bodies by illuminating our “fight-or-flight” response. When we are constantly affected by stress from our busy lives, high-pressure jobs, or even worldly issues, our bodies get stuck in that stress response state. This can cause constant inflammation and stress hormones to wreak havoc on our minds and bodies. If you feel stressed out, try the de-stressing tips for a healthier life below!
The Negative Impacts of Stress
Living under pressure can negatively affect many of our body’s important systems, leading to diseases and poor health outcomes.
Mental Health Struggles
Stress can put you at increased risk of developing mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, substance abuse issues, sleep problems, pain, and bodily complaints such as muscle tension and headaches.
The effect of stress on your gut can lead to both short-term and long-term issues. Primarily, it can cause a loss of appetite and reduce the speed of digestion. Long-term, stress can cause issues such as a decrease in blood and oxygen flow to the stomach, cramping, constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, or chronic stomach pain.
When we’re stressed, a hormone called cortisol is released into our systems and causes issues over time. This hormone has many effects on our bodies. Most importantly, it can cause our cells to hold on to fat and fluid in the stomach, leading to an increase in weight and bloating. It can even increase our appetite and cravings for high sugar, high-fat foods.
Poor Cardiovascular Health
Our heart takes on a lot of pressure when it comes to stress. Long term, high levels of cortisol can increase blood cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, and blood pressure, all of which are common risk factors for heart disease.
Stress hormones can also have an effect on the cell growth and renewal of hair and skin. Because these cells aren’t as important for bodily functions, they aren’t prioritized when our bodies are under stress, which means they aren’t revitalized as often as they should be. Taking time to reduce stress allows your skin and hair to get their natural, healthy glow back!
6 De-Stressing Tips for a Healthier Life
Now that you know some of the different ways that stress can affect you, here are some tips for de-stressing!
Take a Deep Breath
Research shows that just stopping to take a few deep breaths while you are under pressure can help reduce stress. Try some breathing exercises as well as these 12 other relaxation techniques to help deal with stress in the moment.
Set a Routine
Our bodies love a routine. When we set good routines for ourselves, we get into good habits and leave less time for the bad ones that can cause stress in our lives. Things like going for routine walks in the afternoons or daily morning meditations can really help reduce stress and lead to a healthier life. To start, try setting up a 3 step morning and nighttime routine, such as:
- Wake up at the same time every day.
- Start Your Day With This Morning Yoga Routine That Will Make You Feel Amazing.
- Schedule a 5-minute quiet time to plan your day while having your coffee.
I am always relying on my planner to keep my schedule organized and manage the stress of busy day-to-day tasks. When I put all of my to-do’s on a list and schedule around them, it allows me to leave space in my mind to actually get each task done rather than be worried about them and procrastinate. It’s important to schedule a time to relax, as well, so make sure you’re adding some time to chill to your planner!
Studies have shown a Mediterranean diet can support healthy brain function and better mental health outcomes. This diet includes focusing on seafood, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and seeds while reducing the intake of processed food, red meat, dairy, and sugar.
Looking for more info on this lifestyle? Check out Skinny Ms.’s article on all things Mediterranean!
Your environment reflects your thoughts, so keeping your space clean and organized allows you to keep your thoughts organized, as well. When all of the clutter is cleaned out, we are able to focus on our important daily tasks without stressing about the clothes piled up in the corner or stack of papers taking over your desk. If it seems overwhelming to get started, do one room or space at a time, starting in one corner and working to the others.
Exercise releases endorphins that combat stress hormones. Whether it’s just a short walk outside or an intense at-home workout, getting your activity in will help clear your head and keep your body healthy.
Try this Daily Morning Pump-Up Workout for a de-stressing energy boost to add to your routine!