Stress is a defining factor of everyday life in most of modern society. Although you may not be hunting for your food, pressures around earning money and managing a busy, fast-paced daily life have increased. Reducing stress levels can help your body become healthier and better manage emotions that negatively impact your health.
How Does Stress Affect Your Body?
It often similarly impacts your body, no matter where your stress comes from. Stressors take shape in three primary types:
- Acute stress
- Episodic acute stress
- Chronic stress
Acute stress commonly manifests briefly, such as in a heated argument. Episodic acute stress is similar to acute but repetitive, typically from work deadlines or continuously conflictive relationships. Finally, chronic stress is heightened repetitive stress, such as continued unemployment, high-tension family conflicts, or abuse.
With each of these, our hypothalamus is triggered. When this happens, it sets off the autonomic nervous system, which causes your blood pressure and heart rate to rise and your breathing and digestion to become irregular. The longer this continues, the more cortisol is released, which affects your body’s digestive, growth, and even reproductive processes.
Lowering your stress levels can help you avoid many illnesses and conditions, from cardiovascular issues such as high blood pressure, heart disease and even diabetes.
Tips for Reducing Stress Levels
Lowering your stress levels is often easier said than done. It might mean a complete lifestyle change for some people, while others need a little more awareness regarding their daily habits. Here are some tips to lower your overall stress levels.
• Address each kind of stress from top to bottom.
First, start with your most significant stressors. These are typically the hardest to change, but they also tend to trickle into all the more minor, acute stressors in our lives. Create action plans or talk to a counselor about addressing your biggest stresses. You might need to give yourself time to come to a place of willingness to make some significant changes.
• Take moments for yourself.
Try to carve out moments for yourself each day on a smaller level. According to a study published by Behavioral Brain Research in 2019, meditating for even 13 minutes each day will start to have beneficial effects over long-term application. You can also add a positive hobby that brings you happiness, like reading, crafting, or making something to your day.
• Exercise more frequently and eat healthier.
Exercise and diet have a significant impact on how your body deals with stress. This is because you are essentially fighting excess cortisol in your body. Exercise directly reduces the body’s cortisol output and increases the happy hormones (endorphins) in your body.
• Get enough sleep.
Sleep is an essential part of human function. Not getting enough sleep decreases your body’s ability to deal with stress and the harm it has caused, which can lead to even more stress. Even slight sleep deprivation can lead to adverse effects on your judgment and mood. Adults should get 8 hours of sleep a night.
Addressing the sources of stress in your life and working hard to find a balance for yourself are essential for reducing stress in your life. Stress often leads to more stress if not appropriately addressed. Reduce your stress levels to help your body heal and function optimally for much longer.