Managing Stress: It's so Important!

Stress has profoundly detrimental effects on our bodies and our lives.  Many of us are under a greater amount of stress than we know.  Understanding the many effects that stress has on our bodies can help us more accurately assess how much stress we are under.

Effects of Stress:

  • Headaches
  • Anxiety, panic attacks and depression
  • Increased risk for cardiovascular diseases
  • Stomachache, heartburn and digestive changes including diarrhea and constipation
  • Increased risk of diabetes
  • Low sex drive, erectile dysfunction
  • Poor immunity and susceptibility to infections
  • Irregular menstruation and infertility
  • Poor sleep, insomnia

Finding healthy ways to manage stress and making life choices that reduce stress is essential to living well.  There are many great ways to manage our stress, everything from mountain biking to meditation.  As the new year approaches and many of us make resolutions we should consider adding some resolutions that directly related to how we manage our stress levels. 

Ideas for Managing Stress:

  • Maintain a positive attitude. Accept the things you can't control and control your reaction to things that bother you. 
  • Voice your opinions and thoughts in a reasonable way.  Steer clear of passive aggressive patterns, like not saying what you feel when your upset but letting it affect your behavior. 
  • Practice relaxation techniques. Breathing exercises, meditation, qi gong, yoga, and tai chi are all great ideas.
  • Sustain a solid exercise routine.  Exercise gets us out of our heads, reduces stress hormones and improves how we sleep. 
  • Eat healthy foods. Avoid the trap of comfort foods.  These high sugar, high fat foods can lead to more problems and make us feel worse about ourselves. 
  • Think about how you manage time and try to use your time intelligently. 
  • Spend time doing hobbies that you enjoy.  Music, models, and art are great activities for reducing stress. 
  • Get sufficient sleep and rest.  
  • Spend quality time with your family, or don't if your family upsets you.
  • Be willing to say no to activities you know will disturb you. 
  • Try getting regular acupuncture or massage, these treatments have significant positive impacts on your health.