How To Cope With Stress
What is stress and how to cope with it?
Stress is a physical, mental, or emotional factor that can cause physical or mental tension and discomfort. It is important to know is how to cope with stress in your daily life.
We will all encounter stress in our lives from time to time. This can range from everyday responsibilities like work, moving home, as well as more serious life events such as severe illness or the death of a loved one.
Your body responds to stress by releasing hormones that increase your heart rate and prepares your body to respond for any necessary physical action. In short-term situations, stress can be beneficial to your life and your health.
The hormones that your body releases during testing times can actually help you cope with potentially serious situations. In the days of early mankind, the stresses that homo-sapiens commonly encountered would be shortages of food, water and from being under attack by other predators.
The release of the stress hormone would enable us to survive short-term famine, and would also prepare our bodies to cope with dealing with attacks from other tribes and predators to man.
It’s in situations where stress levels stay elevated for long periods of time, is when it can take a toll on your health. Chronic or long-term stress can cause a variety of symptoms that can affect your overall health and well-being. Symptoms of chronic stress include Weight gain, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, low sex drive, sudden illness, and lack of energy.
Some people react to stress by comfort eating, which results in the urge to consume food even when you are not hungry. When you stress eat, you can often consume a lot more calories than you need, and the chances are that you’re probably not making the healthiest food choices either. This can lead to rapid weight gain that can cause other physical and mental health problems such as type 2 diabetes and depression.
The release of stress hormones can also affect your respiratory and cardiovascular systems. When your body responds to stress, you tend to breathe faster to quickly distribute oxygenated blood through your body. This can be problematic if you already suffer from breathing problems like asthma or emphysema.
Elevated levels of stress can sometimes make it even harder to breathe. Along with accelerated breathing, stress also makes your heart pump faster. Stress hormones cause your blood vessels to constrict, diverting more oxygen to your muscles in preparation so that your body can take action.
This also raises your blood pressure, which can be problematic when you encounter stress for long periods of time. As a result, your heart will be working too hard for too long, which can increase the risks of having a stroke or a heart attack.
When the stress hormone is released into your body, the fight and flight reaction to short-term stress may increase the production of the hormone testosterone, but this effect doesn’t last.
If stress continues for a long time, a man’s testosterone levels may begin to drop. This can interfere with sperm production that can cause erectile dysfunction, and also lower libido.
For women, chronic stress can affect the menstrual cycle. It can lead to irregular, heavier, or more painful periods. Long-term stress can even sometimes stop the menstrual cycle all together for a period of time. Chronic stress can also magnify the physical symptoms that women may have during menopause.
Stress stimulates the body’s immune system, which can be good for immediate situations. This short-term hormonal stimulation can help you to avoid infections and heal wounds which would have been very useful to early man. But over time, stress hormones will weaken your immune system and can lower your body’s response to foreign entities.
Those that encounter chronic stress are more susceptible to viral illnesses like the flu and the common cold, as well as other internal infections. Long-term stress can also increase the time that it takes you to recover from an injury or illness.
Another side effect of long-term stresses that you may start to suffer from fatigue. Prolonged levels of stress can deplete the very nutrients you need to create energy such as vitamin B and magnesium. Stress can contribute to the over-stimulation of your body’s natural hormonal response that will accelerate the depletion of certain vitamins and minerals. This, in turn, can lower energy levels that can make you feel constantly tired.
How can you manage and cope with stress?
Unfortunately, this article cannot provide an answer on how to prevent or avoid stress altogether but can provide some tips on how to deal with stressful situations.
Tip 1 How to Cope With Stress: Take a Deep Breath
The advice to “take a deep breath” may seem like a cliché, but it does hold true when it comes to handling stress. Buddhist monks have been focusing on their breathing techniques for many centuries now. While short breaths are a natural reaction whilst under stress, deep breathing will oxygenate your blood and helps to clear your mind.
I recommend sit upright in your chair with your feet flat on the floor and hands on top of your knees. Breathe in and out slowly and deeply, concentrating on your lungs as they expand fully in your chest for approximately three- to five minutes at the start of each day.
Tip 2 How To Cope With Stress: Exercise On A Regular Basis
We all know that regular exercise is good for our overall health and wellbeing, but exercise also has some direct stress-reducing benefits.
Physical activity helps to increase the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, known as endorphins. These are the same hormones that are released during sexual intercourse when we have that feeling of euphoria.
HIIT which is an abbreviation for High-Intensity Interval Training is an effective way to exercise if you have a tight schedule. For more information, please read my article, The 5 Benefits of HIIT.
Tip 3 How To Cope With Stress: Listen to Relaxing Music
Playing calming music can have a positive effect on the brain and body, lower blood pressure, and reduce cortisol levels, a hormone linked to stress. You can listen to relaxing music to getting you into a calm state of mind at the start of the day, and you can also do this at the end of the day. To help you to relax and to have a good night’s sleep.
Tip 4 How To Cope With Stress: Laugh Out Loud
Laughter can help to reduce stress by improving your mood and also releases feel-good endorphins Laughing helps to stimulate your nervous system into making you happy.
Stress is an unavoidable part of life, but that doesn’t mean you cannot be managed. It is important to know when we are under stress for long periods of time, to ensure that it does not affect our health. I recommend hiring an experienced Online Personal Trainer or Online Fitness Coach who gain provide you with some useful techniques on how to manage stress. For more information, please read my article 5 Benefits Of Having An Online Personal Trainer.