No one likes stress. It is harmful to our mind, body, and soul. However, we all get stressed sometimes. The trick is learning to overcome stress and not letting it get you down. After all, many studies are even linking recurrent stress with chronic body inflammation and ultimately, poor health.
"Inflammation is partly regulated by the hormone cortisol and when cortisol is not allowed to serve this function, inflammation can get out of control," said Sheldon Cohen, Professor of Psychology within CMU's Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Cohen led a very interesting study where 276 healthy adults were exposed to a virus. They were then monitored for signs of infection and illness while quarantined. According to Carnegie Mellon, Cohen found that experiencing a prolonged stressful event was associated with the inability of immune cells to respond to hormonal signals that normally regulate inflammation. In turn, those with the inability to regulate the inflammatory response were more likely to develop colds when exposed to the virus.”
In other words, if you experience stress often, you’re actually more likely to get sick! On top of that, stress can result in increased anxiety, depression, upset stomach and headaches. It will wreak havoc on your skin as well!
There are many ways you can cope with stress. Here are some helpful pointers to get you through those times!
Don’t underestimate the power of breathing. Take some time in the morning or evening to put down the electronics, sit quietly and just breathe through your emotions. There are so many free meditation apps that can help you tune in to yourself. Or just light a candle, use some aromatherapy and focus on your breathing.
Exercise is probably one of the most underused forms of reducing stress! According to an article in Healthline, “Exercise lowers your body's stress hormones, such as cortisol. It also helps release endorphins, which are chemicals that improve your mood and act as natural painkillers.”
A slower paced form of exercise can also show significant improvements to overall well-being, mind and body. Practicing yoga has been shown to improve the mindful act of breathing, along with physical and mental health.
All humans need to sleep. It is how we rest and recharge for the next day. Unfortunately, due to our busy modern lifestyles, some people just don’t get the sleep they need. “When we do not sleep long enough or well enough, our bodies do not get the full benefits of sleep, such as muscle repair and memory consolidation. Sleep is so crucial that even slight sleep deprivation or poor sleep can affect memory, judgment and mood. In addition to feelings of listlessness, chronic sleep deprivation can contribute to health problems, from obesity and high blood pressure to safety risks while driving.” – American Psychological Association.
So instead of feeling like you have to keep hitting that snooze button every morning, setup a nightly routine for yourself, and stick to it. Here’s an idea for a new routine. Turn the TV off by 9:00 PM, get off the couch and into bed, and read a book for a half hour or so with the lights dimmed. Try to always get to sleep by a certain time so you’re on a real schedule. Notice how much more refreshed you will feel in the morning and throughout the rest of your day!
Hopefully these tips help to stress … less!
Rachael - Team Solace