A little stress can be helpful at times, such as when it gives us that little kick we need to tackle something challenging or to respond vigorously. But too much stress for too long is not too good for our health.
Lots of research has demonstrated that stress can contribute to high blood pressure, inflammation, obesity, reduced immunity, anxiety, and depression.
What is stress? Stress is when our sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is too active too much of the time. The SNS is the "fight, flight or freeze" system within our autonomic nervous system. The SNS prepares our bodies to respond to danger or threat. The stress response occurs when our SNS is activated, but there is no action that we take or can take. Instead our brain-bodies become vigilant, so that we're always on the alert and on edge.
This occurs most commonly when the stressors that we face are chronic or cannot be addressed with immediate action, such as job demands, difficult relationships, worrisome circumstances, and the like.
Stress can cause or contribute to the following problems:
De-stressing is important to your health and wellness! Here are some actions and activities that are sure to reduce stress:
Exercise: Movement and vigorous exercise change your brain and body chemistry.
Emotional support: Talking about your worries or feelings with a friend or a therapist can have a huge effect on reducing stress. A lot of research supports the importance of social and emotional support in combating stress.
Enjoyable activities and hobbies: Volunteering, reading, pursuing hobbies, and similar activities are
Yoga and meditation: These activities have been shown to offer relaxation to your nervous system.
Counseling: \You may wish to professional help when your stress, anxiety, or depression negatively impact your work and relationships.