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 throughout the day every day, most of us feel stressed more often than we’d like to admit. Add to that 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 makes your blood pressure rise. You’ve experienced this when you’ve been hot and had a splitting headache in a particularly stressful situation. Feeling this way from time to time is no big deal. The real danger lies in the lesser stress we all feel on a daily basis. It can lead to high blood pressure and a higher risk of having 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 difficult to sleep at all. Insomnia is a common side effect of a stressful life. It doesn’t take long for you to start feeling the negative effects of poor sleep. You feel drained, unfocused, and things quickly turn negative. Your body can’t function and recover well if you don’t get at least a few hours of sleep each night. For optimal health, you should allow yourself at least six to eight hours of sleep.
What can you do to relieve stress since it is so hard on your body and mind? Actually, quite a lot. The most obvious solution is to address the source of the stress and banish it from your life. Of course, that’s not very practical or desirable if you’re having a rough couple of weeks at the job you rely on or your kids are driving you crazy. Instead, try to actively relax and de-stress when and where you can to balance out the inevitable. Take a walk outside. Go to the gym for some exercise. Meditate. Learn some breathing exercises to help you calm down when you’re feeling particularly stressed. Get enough good sleep. Eat a healthy diet and avoid sugar and caffeine.
We’ll talk more about how to stress less and love life in future blog posts. Becoming aware of stress and how it affects you is a great first step. Take a deep breath right now and go for a walk around the block. Notice how much better you feel already