Stress is what’s on the lips of any doctor when describing the source of your symptoms. If there’s no actual diagnostic, then your symptoms are definitely caused by stress. Stress is also the reason why you became sick in the first place, despite the fact that you are living a healthy lifestyle. Indeed, stress is the culprit for many, if not most, of our ills.
According to science, if each and every one of us would know what was happening to us when we are stressed, we would all freak out! The bad part about this is that there are countless studies who confirm that chronic stress has frightening effects that none of us wish to have. Still, in today’s world, stress has become an epidemic that is taking hold of everyone.
Long story short: Your body’s metabolic and endocrine system goes nuts during chronic stress, making you prone to memory deficiencies and weight issues. Unfortunately – and here’s where it gets really scary- chronic stress increases your risk of sudden death by… a lot. Still, stress is something we can’t run away from.
Sometimes, we cannot outrun it. Stressful situations or periods are unavoidable. This means we have to face it. Luckily, this is an area where we have control. Therefore, in order to deal with this as good as possible we have compiled a short list of tips for chronic stress management:
1. Mind Your Diet
This cannot be stressed enough! The right diet can do wonders in terms of reducing the negative impact of stress. For this reason, focus on eating whole, unprocessed foods that will restore your insulin, cortisol and other hormones to normal levels.
Try to eat up to 7 times a day. It sounds like a lot but it really isn’t. Focus on small meals and healthy snacks to rev up your metabolism. You’ll feel better in a matter of days. Aside from having more energy, you’ll also lose some excess weight because your body will burn more calories.
Thoughts have incredible power. And thoughts are incredibly easy to influence by a shift in our perspective. By realizing that stress comes within, and the only place we have real power is within, then surely we can tame this beast with the aid of positive thinking, positive affirmations and being mindful about what is happening with us emotionally and physically, and addressing those inner realities with kindness, patience, and respect.
Self-hypnosis and meditation can help a lot and YouTube is the place to go if you can’t afford a therapist just yet. Just look for Paul McKenna and/or Michael Sealey and you’ll find several hypnosis tracks that will help you in ways you can’t even imagine right now. Make sure you do this constantly – at least 3-4 times a week and you’ll notice some amazing changes in a few week’s time.
3. Active Relaxation
There’s a reason health experts recommend we do some form of physical activity daily: it works wonders. This is what active relaxation is all about. Whether is taking your dog out for a walk, doing yoga or dancing around the house to your favourite music, by all means, shake that booty! This will bring all that extra adrenaline and cortisol to normal levels and boost good hormones that will make you more relaxed and happy!
If it is possible for you, go swimming in the morning. Being in the water feels good and most people experience a feeling of intense mental relaxation when they swim. Aside from putting your anxious mind to rest, swimming will improve your muscle tone and metabolism.
4. Breathe Deeply
In the tight hold of stress, we oftentimes become so tense that we forget how to breathe as if we’re constantly waiting for danger. This is why breathing from your belly is very important and a powerful way of relaxing and calming yourself. Whenever you feel like a huge burden is on your shoulder or feel overwhelmed, take a moment to breathe evenly from your belly. Do this for 5 minutes and you will see how much of a difference proper breathing can make – effective chronic stress relief!
A good thing to do would be to inhale pure essential oils. Lavender, for instance, is known for its stress-reducing properties. Put a few drops in a diffuser or add some to Epsom salt and take a warm (not hot) bath for about 20 minutes. You’ll feel so much better. (1)
5. Sleep More
Last, but not least, sleeping. This should become the no.1 goal for anyone dealing with stress. Never ever should we underestimate the power of sleep. It not only restores our body but also our mind. For this reason, it is absolutely crucial to ensure good sleep hygiene during stressful times. It’s one of the best ways to prevent stress-related health problems, such as Addison’s disease.
If you can’t fall asleep easy, the lavender bath we mentioned will also prove to be of great help. The same goes for a natural melatonin supplement. Take it for a month and make sure you go to bed at the same time. You’ll gradually fall asleep easier and feel more rested.
All things considered, chronic stress is a phenomenon that is created by a multitude of factors. Regardless of how overwhelming living under stress can be, there are numerous ways of coping and reducing its negative effects – provided we know where to look!
Ana Miller is a creative writer. Her topics of interest and expertise range from psychology to all sorts of disciplines such as science and news.