Stress on your body: 10 ways to limit or manage your stress
Overall wellness isn’t just about how you take care of your bodies. Stress and how you manage it affects both physical and mental aspects of your health. Our Health and Wellness RN Lauren King says, “Our bodies are well equipped to handle stress in small doses, but when stress becomes long-term, or chronic, it can have serious effects on our bodies and our overall health.” When you experience stress, your body releases hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones can increase your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate, which can be helpful in short bursts, but can cause harm if they persist for long periods of time.
Additionally, stress can weaken your immune system, making you more vulnerable to illnesses and infections. It can also lead to headaches, muscle tension, and digestive problems. If you are under stress for a long time, it can increase your risk of developing chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and depression.
To manage stress, it is important to identify the sources of stress in your life and find ways to cope with them. This could include exercise, meditation, talking to friends or family, or seeking professional help if necessary. By taking steps to reduce stress, you can improve your overall health and wellbeing.
Here are some ways to limit or manage your amount of stress:
- Exercise regularly: Exercise can help reduce stress hormones and release feel-good endorphins.
- Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness meditation and breathing exercises can help you stay present and focused, reducing stress and anxiety.
- Get enough sleep: Getting enough restful sleep is essential for managing stress.
- Eat a healthy diet: A balanced diet can help improve mood and energy levels, reducing the impact of stress.
- Connect with others: Building strong relationships with family and friends can provide a support system during times of stress.
- Learn to say no: Saying no to extra responsibilities and commitments can help you avoid burnout.
- Prioritize self-care: Taking time for yourself and engaging in activities you enjoy can help reduce stress and improve overall wellbeing.
- Practice relaxation techniques: Activities such as yoga or deep breathing can help reduce stress and tension in the body.
- Seek professional help: If you are experiencing chronic stress or anxiety, consider seeking the help of a mental health professional.
- Maintain a positive outlook: Focusing on the positives in your life and practicing gratitude to help shift your mindset and reduce stress levels.
Are there ways to test your stress levels?
- Self-assessment questionnaires: There are several self-assessment questionnaires available online 365 Health or through healthcare providers that can help you assess your stress levels. These questionnaires typically ask about physical symptoms, emotional responses, and lifestyle factors that may contribute to stress.
- Cortisol testing: Cortisol is a hormone released by the body in response to stress. Testing cortisol levels in saliva, blood, or urine can provide an indication of stress levels. Ask your doctor if you should test your cortisol levels.
- Heart rate variability (HRV) testing: HRV testing measures the variation in time between heartbeats and can provide insight into how the body is responding to stress.
- Blood pressure testing: Blood pressure can increase in response to stress. Measuring blood pressure can provide an indication of your stress levels. Free blood pressure testing is available at most of our Spring Health Fairs. Find all locations here.
It’s important to note that while these tests can provide insight into stress levels, they are not a definitive diagnosis. It’s always best to consult with a healthcare provider if you’re concerned about your stress levels or experiencing symptoms related to stress. If you do not have a healthcare provider, 365 Health offers unlimited access to a doctor via text-first telehealth, only $80 for a full year!
Our Health and Wellness Lead says, “managing your stress levels shouldn’t cause extra worry or stress! It can be as easy as chatting with a friend, taking a walk outside in the sunshine, playing with your children or pet, or even taking a nap. Understanding what causes you stress and how to manage it is an incredibly important part of your overall wellness.
365 Health strives to advance health awareness in Colorado, providing people with the tools they need to take responsibility for their own health. We do this through community Health Fairs, affordable health screenings, Health in Hand (our telehealth service), vaccination clinics, and much more! Learn more about our history and what we do HERE.