The Effects of Stress
What Is Stress?
Stress is the body’s reaction to external and sometimes internal influences. It happens for a variety of reasons. In a 2015 Harris Poll Survey, “Stress in America,” respondents reported that work and money were the top reasons for stress in Adults in America. This was not a one-off report. These have been the leading causes of stress for the previous eight years. Other factors that contribute to stress are health, family and school responsibilities.
According to the study it found that, “women consistently struggle with more stress than men. Millennials and Generation Xers deal with more stress than baby boomers. And those who face discrimination based on characteristics such as race, disability status or LGBT identification struggle with more stress than their counterparts who do not regularly encounter such societal biases.”
Effects of Stress on the Brain
When we encounter stress the command center of our brain, known as the hypothalamus, alerts the rest of the body. This alert increases endorphins, adrenaline and cortisol and allows us to either fight, or flee. It is this fight or flight response that is the most noticeable of the reactions that stress has on the brain. It is in this scenario that people are able to do superhuman feats. However, stress is a chain reaction. From the brain to the body, all aspects of our well being are connected and impacted.
Effects of Chronic Stress on the Brain
While stress itself is not necessarily problematic, the buildup of cortisol in the brain can have long-term effects. Thus, chronic stress can lead to health problems. It affects the brain’s ability to function at the levels that we need. It affects what happens with our synapse, and that in turn can lead to social destabilization and less interactions with others.
As we isolate inward, our cognitive functions can decrease, and we start to live in a vicious cycle. It can also cause problems with memory and learning, which is why we need to take charge of our stress and make sure that we, not it, are in control of our life.
What Can We Do?
Life is stressful from paying bills, to work, to school, to children and families, sometimes it seems like we can’t get ahead. However, although life is stressful, it doesn’t mean that we have to live in that type of environment.
What we do to mitigate that stress varies according to each person and their respective environments, but a few stress relief techniques such as exercise not only help relieve stress, they also are beneficial to other areas of our lives.
Eating well, sleeping well, exercises, meditation, creativity, fellowship and faith all help to alleviate stress. It is only through these things can we mitigate any damage that may be caused by stress.
Enjoying Achieve Weight Loss Healthy Days can help reduce stress because you are not overeating or burdening your body with an overabundance of sugar. In addition, you are properly hydrating your body.
Lack of sleep is one of the main factors when it comes to stress. The more exhausted that you are the more likely you are to become stressed. Research varies, but average suggestions of appropriate sleep times for adults range from 7 to 9 hours.
Exercise and Meditation
Exercise is an amazing stress reliever. Research has suggested that exercise releases chemical that lead to relaxation. Additionally, meditation allows us to be exactly where we need to be at, in that given moment.
From art to journaling, being creative gives us a safe, judgement free zone to release our emotions. It may not look like much to other people, but that painting you did at 2AM when you couldn’t sleep, is a snapshot into your psyche. At Achieve Weight Loss you may journal online and get feedback from our coaches as you journey to success!
Belonging to a group can help us relieve stress. If it is a support group, we can talk about the things that are bothering us and get some insight into our own problems. If it is a social group, just having people we see on a regular basis can help relieve stress.
Realizing that you are not alone and that there is a God in heaven who loves you and cares for you is a big stress reliever. Placing your faith in God and trusting Him for your salvation gives you a whole new perspective on life.
Are there any other ways you relieve stress? I would love to hear about them.
Have a Healthy Day,