Chronic stress

Chronic stress can have significant and long-lasting effects on our physical and mental health. When the body is exposed to ongoing stress without sufficient time to recover, it can lead to various negative outcomes. Here are some of the key impacts chronic stress can have on our health:

Cardiovascular issues: Chronic stress can contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease, and an increased risk of stroke.

Immune system suppression: Prolonged stress weakens the immune system, making the body more susceptible to infections and illnesses.

Digestive problems: Stress can disrupt the digestive system, leading to issues like indigestion, stomach ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and exacerbating existing gastrointestinal conditions.

Mental health disorders: Chronic stress is closely linked to the development of anxiety disorders and depression. It can worsen existing mental health conditions and contribute to the onset of new ones.

Sleep disturbances: Chronic stress can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to insomnia or poor-quality sleep. Lack of proper rest can further exacerbate stress, creating a vicious cycle.

Cognitive impairment: Prolonged stress can impair cognitive functions such as memory, attention, and decision-making abilities.

Muscle tension and pain: Chronic stress can lead to headaches, muscle tension, and pain in the neck, shoulders, back, and other parts of the body.

It’s important to note that different individuals may experience and cope with stress differently, and not everyone will develop all of these health issues. However, chronic stress can have a cumulative effect on health over time, and it’s essential to address and manage stress through healthy coping mechanisms, lifestyle changes, and, if necessary, seeking professional support.

Our team at Empowered Health Chiropractic understand the important role stress management can play in a large number of muscular, skeletal and nervous system conditions, hence we actively promote strategies to support short and long-term recovery.

Strategies to better manage stress

There are many different stress management strategies that can be effective for different people. Here are 10 common stress management strategies:

Exercise regularly. Exercise is a great way to relieve stress and improve your overall health. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.

Get enough sleep. When you’re sleep-deprived, you’re more likely to feel stressed and overwhelmed. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night.

Eat a healthy diet. Eating a healthy diet can help improve your mood and energy levels, which can make it easier to cope with stress. Avoid processed foods, sugary drinks, and excessive amounts of caffeine and alcohol.

Take breaks throughout the day. If you’re feeling stressed, take a few minutes to step away from whatever you’re doing and do something relaxing, such as taking a walk, listening to music, or meditating.

Learn to say no. Don’t be afraid to say no to commitments that you don’t have time for or that will add to your stress levels.

Delegate tasks. If you have too much on your plate, don’t be afraid to delegate tasks to others. This will free up your time so you can focus on the things that are most important to you.

Spend time with loved ones. Social support is important for managing stress. Make time for the people who make you happy and who you can talk to about your problems.

Practice relaxation techniques. There are many different relaxation techniques that can be helpful for reducing stress, such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga. Find a technique that works for you and practice it regularly.

Seek professional help. If you’re struggling to manage your stress on your own, consider seeking professional help from a therapist or counselor. They can teach you coping skills and help you develop a stress management plan.

Take care of yourself. Make sure you’re taking care of your physical and mental health. This includes getting regular checkups, eating a healthy diet, exercising, and getting enough sleep.

It’s important to find a stress management strategy that works for you and to make it a part of your regular routine. The more you practice these techniques, the better you’ll become at managing stress and the less it will impact your life.

References

 

  1. McEwen BS. Neurobiological and Systemic Effects of Chronic Stress. Chronic Stress. 2017;1. doi:10.1177/2470547017692328
  2. Varvogli L, Darviri C. Stress management techniques: Evidence-based procedures that reduce stress and promote health. Health science journal. 2011 Apr 1;5(2):74.
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Luka Fantela