Today’s fast pace of life does nothing for health. Yes, it might be productive, and it might mean we get to take advantage of more opportunities, but what use is that if we’re borderline unhealthy as a result? Stress is one of the number one issues in modern day life, but did you know that in its most severe cases, stress can actually be fatal?
It might sound dramatic, but it’s the truth. Stress increases your chances of developing heart disease, increases your blood pressure, ups your stroke risk, and puts you on the path towards anxiety and depression. In addition to all of this, you have the regular side effects, which include becoming isolated from friends and family, headaches, crazy appetite, losing weight, putting weight on, lack of focus, disputed sleep pattern, the list goes on.
We don’t need to talk too much about how dangerous stress is, because it is something we already know, but we do need to talk about how you can work to reduce your stress, and therefore avoid the upsetting effects in the first place. Stress management isn’t difficult, but it does take a few lifestyle changes in order for it to work.
Talk it Out
Taking is one of the best ways to reduce your stress, because it will allow you to put the problem causing your stress into perspective. It’s likely that you might be overthinking something, and getting another person’s perspective means you can help to keep it all in the right frame. Find someone you trust, someone you can call when your stress peaks, and you’ll find this to be a great therapeutic exercise.
You might wonder how exercise helps, but it really is one of the best ways to beat stress. You can choose any type of exercise you like, from yoga to the gym, a team sport to swimming, it doesn’t matter. The point is that you’re getting your heart rate up, and your body is pumping out those feel good hormones, including dopamine, which helps to calm you down.
Look After Your General Health
It should go without saying that looking after your general health and wellbeing is key. Make sure you’re eating a well balanced, healthy diet, and kick out the high fat takeaways. Never miss meals, because it’s very tempting when you’re stressed to simply not want to eat, and then want to binge. Keep it all regular. Go and visit your doctor if you really feel you need help, and never be worried about explaining how you feel – stress is dangerous, but it is normal to experience it.
Practice ‘Enough is Enough’
There comes a point where you have to walk away from whatever it is that is causing your stress. If it’s work, leave the office when you’re supposed to, never stay late, and always make sure that you put a lid on work thoughts the moment you walk away. It can be difficult at first, because we’re all hard-wired to want to see everything through to the end, but it’s not healthy! If it is a personal situation which is causing you stress, walk away from it for a while and get some space; you might find you feel differently after a while and that you discover your answers naturally.
Ensure You Get Enough Sleep
Lack of sleep is not going to help you out in any way, shape, or form. Sleep deprivation can be just as dangerous as stress! It’s likely that you’re either sleeping too much, or not sleeping much at all. Whichever way it’s going, try your best to level out your sleeping pattern, by going to bed at a regular time, waking up at a regular time, avoiding lay-ins, and practicing relaxation before bed.
Avoid Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms
Alcohol, going out too much, drugs, binge eating, indulging in chaotic behaviour, these are all unhealthy coping mechanisms associated with stress and difficult times in our lives. They don’t help, and they actually make it all worse, whilst also putting yourself at risk. Cut them out and instead stick to the healthier options.
The Outdoors is Your Friend
Whenever you can, get outside. Soak up those vitamins from the sun’s rays (with sunscreen of course), and enjoy dining al fresco. Go for a walk at sunset, take the dog with you or a trusted friend, or you could simply put your earphones in and listen to some uplifting muscle at the same time. Getting outside is an instant mood lifter.
These are all ways you can naturally work to lower your stress levels, and the good news? They’re all pretty easy to do! Remember, if you feel everything is becoming too much, go and see your doctor. Stress is far too dangerous a beast to allow it to take over your life.