Stress for many people is what we experience when we are confronted with tension,pressure or when situations require us to cope in a different way. Not all stressors are negative,there are positive stressors that gear us towards action,preparation mood,accomplishment of tasks and mental alertness.
Stress can cause negative and positive feelings even as it induces wear and tear in our bodies while adjusting to environmental changes. Stress can not be eliminated from our bodies entirely but managing stress will require learning effective healthy coping strategies.
Attention to your life pattern could be necessary if you regularly experience the following symptoms( by no means mutually exclusive):
Symptoms of Stress
- habitual temper tantrums with colleagues or attendants
- insufficient time for basic chores
- dread previously enjoyable tasks and vacations
- frequent headaches,stomach aches,fatigue,muscle aches and indigestion
- recurring forgetfulness and poor attention to details.
- Anger when stuck in the traffic
- feeling depressed at the end of the day
- lack of energy
- can not multi-task
- poor libido
- waking up tired and exhausted.
Conversely,positive stress can help can engender new perspective and awareness in our lives propelling us into action and motivation.
Regular exercise have been known scientifically to boost our immune system and also to turn down the production of stress hormones and associated neurochemicals eg. norepinephrine, cortisol and growth hormone which have deleterious effects on our health if we are exposed to them for too long.
There is overwhelming research studies highlighting the anxiolytic, antidepressant, mood-modifying and appetite stimulating role of regular exercise. Additionally, regular exercise reduces blood pressure, reduces hyperglycaemia, ameliorates arthritic conditions, obesity, corrects eating disorders which are medical causes of stress. The National recommendation for adults is at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week which will reduce the risk coronary heart disease.
Surveys and statistics show that Americans have increased their intake of saturated fats, cholesterol and calories by more than 16% since 2003 which have been known to lead to plaque formation and artherioslceriosis by the processes of oxidative stress and endothelial inflammation. Instead the well-reiterated advise to eat more fruits, whloe grains and vegetables stems from their high content of flavonoids and carotenoids especially in coloured fruits which are antioxidants known for their antistress and immune boosting roles.
Stress can raise cholesterol levels, increase hypercoagulability, deplete magnesuim and calcium.It is also immuno-suppressant especially after prolonged stress which can lead to frequent illness, inflammation, oxidation and destruction of healthy tissue due to release of free radicals.
Nutritonal deficiency of nutrients like vit b complex can result in nervous system malfunction.eg. neuritis, neuralgia, neuropathies etc. Consistent balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables can prevent these maladies.
Relaxation and Meditation-
The meditative technique called the “relaxation response” is a state of deep relaxation in which our breathing rate, metabolism, blood pressure and heart rates are slowed can lead to enhanced mood, lower blood presure and reduction in lifestyle stress.
The technique involves the repetition of a word,sound or phrase for 10-20 mins in a quiet place to prevent distraction in a sitting position with eyes closed while breathing naturally and easily. Relax your muscles from the feet progressing up to the face while taking slow and steady rhytmic breaths through the nose.