Stress doesn’t just affect you emotionally, but it can also make you physically ill. When you are stressed, your body responds by constricting your blood vessels and releasing hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. You breathe faster, and your pulse and blood pressure increases. In a life-threatening situation, this will help you fight or run away, but when the “fight or flight” response is triggered falsely — by non-life-threatening situations — your body goes into a chronic state of stress.
Recent studies have found a link between stress and various illnesses. Stress increases the risk of developing conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and asthma, to name a few. If you already suffer from a health condition, stress will worsen the symptoms. There is some good news, however. Stress is an inevitable part of life but, learning stress management techniques could help you manage stress and decrease health risks.
What Are Some of the Health Problems Related to Stress?
Health issues can be both physical or emotional. Here are some of the most common health risks related to chronic stress:
- Unexplained aches and pains
- Digestive problems
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Panic attacks
- Alzheimer’s disease
Stress disables the immune system’s ability to regulate inflammation, making you more susceptible to illness. There is also evidence that stress can make you age faster and lead to premature death. The effects of stress and the risk associated with leaving it unmanaged is too extensive when you can easily learn how to manage it.
Benefits of Stress Management
No matter what the cause of your stress, there is something you can do about it. Managing stress will benefit you in the following ways:
- Get sick less often
- Recover faster from illness
- Improved sleep
- Less muscle tension and unexplained aches and pains
- Better mood and overall health
Avoid Stress-Related Illnesses Caused by Stress
You can’t always avoid stress, but you can learn to deal with it positively. Many stress management techniques will help you relax in the moment and also become more relaxed in your overall life. We have found that deep breathing is one of the best tools to use when you need to calm down fast, and you can do it practically anywhere. Simply take deep, slow breaths by inhaling through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth. Keep doing this until your heart rate slows down.
Meditation is another powerful tool that can help you manage chronic stress. It can rewire your brain and change the way your body responds to stressful situations. For the best results, put aside a few minutes per day to meditate somewhere quiet. Make yourself comfortable by sitting down or lying down. Focus on your breathing, or repeat a mantra. If your mind wanders, gently bring your focus back.
Don’t let stress make you sick. If you don’t know where to start and need help to manage stress, get in touch with the team at Integrative Coaching. Book your free session today!