Are you feeling stressed? I’d be surprised if you weren’t. Between the growing demands of our jobs, raising a family while working full-time, and the increasing need to stay connected all day every day, most of us feel stressed out more often than we like to admit. Add to it a chronic lack of sleep and exercise and you have a recipe for disaster. Stress kills and that’s no joke. Let’s look at some of the worst negative side effects of stress and what you can do to stress less and relax more.
Stress will cause your blood pressure to rise. You’ve experienced this when you found yourself hot and with a raging headache when you were in a particularly stressful situation. Feeling that way from time to time is no big deal. The real danger is in the lower-level stress we all feel on a daily basis. It can lead to hypertension and a higher risk of suffering from a heart attack or stroke.
Next, let’s look at sleep. When you’re stressed, you don’t sleep well. You may even find it hard to sleep at all. Insomnia is a common side effect of living a stress-full life. It doesn’t take long before you start to feel the negative side effects of not getting quality sleep. You feel drained, unfocused, and things spiral downward from there quickly. Your body can’t function well and recover without at least a few good hours of sleep per night. For optimal health, destress and shoot for at least six to eight hours.
Since stress is so hard on the body and mind, what can you do to reduce it? Quite a bit actually. The most obvious solution is to go to the source of the stress and cut it out of your life. Obviously that isn’t very practical, or desirable when you’re having a few rough weeks at the job you rely on or your kids are driving you nuts. Instead, try things to actively relax and destress when and where you can to counterbalance the unavoidable. Go for a walk outside. Hit the gym for some exercise. Meditate. Learn some breathing exercises to help calm yourself down whenever you feel particularly stressed. Get plenty of quality sleep. Eat a healthy diet and cut down on sugar and caffeine.
We’ll talk more about how you can stress less and love life in future blog posts. Being aware of the stress and how it is affecting you is a great first step. Now take a deep breath and go for a stroll around the block. Notice how much better you’re feeling already?