Stress not only afflicts your mind, it can also be the cause of a wide range of medical issues; headaches to stomach disorders to depression. It can even increase the risk of serious conditions like stroke and heart disease. By understanding the connection between your mind/stress/health you can better manage stress and improve your health and well-being.
The Fight or Flight Response
The sympathetic stress response is an automatic response that is “hard wired” into our nervous system and is necessary for mobilizing quick reactions to imminent danger. When we perceive a threat our bloodstream is rushed with stress hormones, increasing the heart rate, blood pressure and glucose levels. Other hormones are also released to suppress the body's functions, such as digestion and the immune system, which makes us more susceptible to illness. Stress is triggered by danger but can also result from work conflicts, debt worries and anxiety. Although one bad day at work won’t compromise your health, weeks and months of stress can lessen your immune response and raise your risk.
- Recognize when you don’t have control, and let it go.
- Don't get anxious about situations you have no control over or cannot change.
- Take control of your reactions and focus on what makes you feel calm and in control.
Relax and Recharge Handle life's stressors by taking the time to have fun and relax. Even 10 to 15 minutes a day makes a difference. Everyone has different ways to relax and unwind – take a walk, read a book, go for a run, play sports, spend time with friends and loved ones, meditate.