Medical research has shown that more than 80 percent of sicknesses are caused by stress that originates in the mind and reflects on the body. Stress is a result of a combination of chemical, physical, and emotional stressors that you may or may not even be aware of. The good news is that there are several ways to reduce stress and its negative effects which we will be sharing in more detail through the following article.
What Is Stress?
Everybody experiences stress in one way or another. It is just our body’s natural reaction to a stressor or stimulus that affects our mental or physical equilibrium. It is also commonly referred to as our body’s fight or flight response. This response to life or death situations served us well by enabling us to adapt and survive in risky situations. Below are the different ways that our body responds to stress:
- Heightened muscle tensions/preparedness
- Increased heart pulse and rate
- Rapid breathing
- Increased blood pressure
- Immune system depression
- Digestive system slowdown
- Increase in production of the stress hormone
- Lack of sleep/heightened sense of alertness
These reactions can be seen to be beneficial in dangerous situations. They are signs of our body’s responses that allow the respective functions to react according to the circumstances, in preparation for immediate survival. Once the risky situation has subsided, our body is supposed to return back to homeostasis. The problem with today’s society is that our body continuously remains in this fight or flight response mode even when our day-to-day situations do not warrant for such a response. This is not healthy for both our mind and body if the above response mechanisms become our general state of being.
Health Problems Related to Stress
Being exposed to stress over an extended period of time can have a chronic effect on our health. Some of the common health problems that are linked to stress are as follows:
- Heart disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Gastrointestinal problems
These issues do not just affect older adults, but they can impact everyone who experiences stress in their life. How can we eliminate or reduce stress to ensure we get to enjoy a much richer and vibrant life?
Being mindful is one of the main methods of dealing with stress. When we quieten down our minds, we become more aware of the present to prevent us from being so caught up in the past or worrying over the future. We are able to enjoy the present while still accepting our thoughts and feelings. Meditation can help us to be mindful of our state of mind and in turn, reduce stress.
Staying physically active can help us increase our bone density, lung capacity, and overall well-being. It also has a great impact on our brain health where most of our stress originates from. By being physically active, we can eventually reduce stress levels while keeping us alert and more focused. We can stay in shape while improving our quality of life at the same time.