How Reducing Stress can Transform Your Health
A bit of anxiety in certain situations can be good, as we all know about the “fight or flight” response. This is our body’s instinct to produce adrenaline to help us get out of dangerous situations. And let’s say you’re giving a speech to a room filled with people—a bit of anxiety is likely to give you just enough edge to deliver it to the best of your ability.
There’s a huge difference between this and continued and repeated exposure to stress, which can take a serious toll on your mental and physical wellbeing. In fact, stress has been linked to cancer and heart attacks. It’s time we realize the importance of minimizing it in our lives, as the mind/body connection is stronger than anyone can even imagine. We know it’s easier said than done but there are proven ways to reduce stress, such as practicing yoga, meditation, and even just going for long walks. Read on for more information on how doing this can transform your health. Say it with us: “Ommmmm…”
First of all, stress reduction can help us focus more, as anxiety detracts from our ability to truly pay attention to the task at hand. Once we reduce stress, we can focus and get the job done and done well. This in turn will make us happy, and happiness can also help us to counter the negative effects of stress. See what we did there? We know it’s not going to happen overnight but if you practice things like meditation and deep breathing, the change—although gradual—will take place. And there’s something to be said for the “act as if” approach. Even if you’re faking it at first, it will eventually become the authentic—and less stressed—you. Fake it ‘til you make it!
Stress can take its toll on our skin, so reducing it will give us (or return to us!) the healthy glow we all desire. During high stress times, skin conditions we are prone to are likely to become much worse. According to WebMD.com, stress can aggravate things like eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis. It can even cause fever blisters and skin conditions such as hives and other rashes. Stress can also cause acne breakouts, as our bodies produce more oil due to the cortisol that’s released when we experience it—some have telltale pimples show on their chins during times of stress, while others deal with hairline acne. While we can’t avoid stress altogether, we need to make an effort to minimize it on a daily basis.
One of the best ways to combat stress is through exercise. Much like stress produces yucky cortisol, exercise produces endorphins (yay!). As this article from the Mayo Clinic notes, endorphins are the brain’s “feel-good neurotransmitters”. While it’s mostly a subtle effect, you can actually feel it at times with things like the oft discussed “runner’s high”. Exercise also helps you by taking your mind off your day’s troubles. In turn, it helps your brain to work out certain problems and ultimately helps your ability to focus once you’re back at work, school, etc. Even better, exercise has been a proven mood enhancer, and it has been show to also reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety. So you’ll exercise to reduce your stress level and reap all the other benefits of exercise, such as increased sex drive and energy, weight loss, improved memory, better sleep, and more. Talk about a win/win!