Fitness Facts: How to reduce stress
By Connie Colbert
Director, Canyon Health and Wellness Clinic
While a little stress is a good motivator and can keep us alert and productive, too much stress over long periods of time can be detrimental to your health.
Stress can affect all aspects of your life, including your emotions, behaviors, thinking ability and physical health. No part of the body is immune.
But because people handle stress differently, symptoms of stress can vary. Symptoms can be vague and might be the same as those caused by medical conditions. So it is important to discuss them with your doctor. You may experience any of the following symptoms of stress, according to Web MD.
- Becoming easily agitated, frustrated and moody
- Feeling overwhelmed, like you are losing control
- Having difficulty relaxing and quieting your mind
- Feeling bad about yourself, low self-esteem, lonely, feeling worthless and having depression
- Avoiding others
- Low energy, headaches, upset stomach, aches, pains
- Chest pain and rapid heart rate, insomnia, frequent colds and infections
- Nervousness, dry mouth
- Change in appetite, procrastinating or avoiding responsibilities
- Exhibiting more nervous behaviors, such as nailbiting, fidgeting and pacing
If you are having these symptoms or feel as if your stress is out of control, here are a few tips:
- Power nap: As I mentioned last week, sleep is essential
- Visualizations: This one is easy and effective, and can help you to do better in school or become more productive at work. Visualizations can help you calm down, detach from what’s stressing you and turn off your body’s stress response. You also can use visualizations to prepare for presentations, to stress less and to score higher on tests by vividly seeing yourself performing just as you’d like to.
- Deep breathing
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation: for more on this topic, click here
- Listen to uplifting music
- Stay organized
- Keep a gratitude journal
- Eat a balanced diet and reduce caffeine and sugar intake
- Take a day off. Make it a staycation if you need to!
- Make it a point to be around positive people!
To combat the effects of stress, you will need to take a proactive approach. We all experience stress on some level, but if you have high levels of stress for long periods of time your health will be affected if you do not actively take steps to control it!