We all get stressed out, right? Stress is natural. It’s our body’s reaction to any change in your environment, your body, or your thoughts that requires an adjustment or response. Our body reacts to these changes with physical, mental, and emotional response. Believe it or not, stress CAN be positive when it keeps us alert. However, when a person continues to face challenges without any relief or relaxation, the stress becomes negative. Did you know that stress can actually cause inflammation in our body? I often talk about foods that cause inflammation and trying to stick to an anti-inflammatory diet, but stressful circumstances could be a cause as well. Negative stress and inflammation can lead to a number of symptoms including chronic diseases, weight gain, headaches, increased blood pressure, chest pain, upset stomach, and sleeping disorders.
A study out of Ohio University found that dwelling on negative events can increase levels of inflammation in the body. During the study, participants were asked to meditate on a stressful event and while doing so, their levels of C-reactive protein rose. C-reactive protein is a marker of tissue inflammation and primarily produced by the liver as part of the immune system’s initial inflammatory response. It is commonly used as a clinical marker to determine if a patient has an infection because it rises in response to traumas, injuries or infections in the body.
We are bound to be exposed to stress, but we are able to try different ways to manage it. Personally, I constantly stay in a very busy pace that often leads to stress. I try not to allow that stress to creep up and take over, but when it does, I can feel it all over my body. Below are some tips to help you manage stress.
*Go outside. Take a walk, go for a hike, go fishing, or take your kids to the park. Nature is calming and fresh air will help you clear your mind.
*Read a book that allows you to grow and find peace.
*Accept that there are events and situations that you cannot control.
*Manage your time. Being in a rush will stress anyone out, so set your watch a few minutes ahead of time. Use a calendar or planner to plan out your days.
*Get enough sleep. Make sure your sleep environment is working for you and turn off the tv, computer, and telephone to avoid distractions.
*Eat healthy and nutritious meals. Avoid heavy, fatty, and fried foods that weigh you down.
*Learn to say “No!” when you’ve already got enough on your plate at work or home.
*Take a break and do something that you enjoy.
*Talk to your friends and family about what is bothering you. Just get it out! They’re there to support you.
*Limit your alcohol use.