Is The Stress Actually Killing You?
We all know that stress is bad for us, but do we know how much it really affects things? We often feel the physical effects—the headache, stomach ache, even blurry vision or trembling. I break out in hive-like spots on my neck and chest when I am in a state of high anxiety. And yet, what do we do when these uncomfortable physical symptoms appear? More likely than not, we push them aside, perhaps take a pain pill or two and move on, continuing in the stress that triggered it all in the first place.
It’s something everyone does—as we all know, we lead such incredibly busy lives. The world waits for no one, we say, and we haven’t the time to sit still and nurse a headache or the slight dizziness that comes and goes. We have things to do.
But what would you do to save your own life?
What are Good Stress Relief Techniques?
Learning the basics of relaxation techniques isn’t difficult, but it does take practice. One can relieve stress by practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, rhythmic exercise, and yoga. Fitting these activities into your life can help reduce everyday stress and boost your energy and mood.
In an article titled How Stress Is Making You Lose Your Mind, Jenny Evans, exercise psychologist and a stress and resiliency expert, points out proof from several studies that show the effects stress has on one very important part of our body—the brain. It can shrink the medial prefrontal cortex, causing a negative effect on decision making, planning, memory, and even impulsive behavior. When is the last time you snapped at someone without realizing you were going to, just because you are stressed?
Stress produces the hormone cortisol and this can shrink, kill, and stop the production of new neurons. What would your brain be like with fewer neurons? And you think you can’t remember or deal with things now.
Stress also affects the stem cells’ accessibility to other parts of the brain, inhibiting natural reactions and propelling even more stress and anxiety. As Ms. Evans points out, “These brain alterations can have significant consequences on the way we interact with others, our ability to learn, remember, make decisions and accomplish long-term goals. They also make it more difficult to successfully manage stressful situations in the future, leading to a vicious cycle.”
The article goes on to talk about exercise and how much the release of stress and happier hormones helps the future events of stress. I would also suggest that we need to listen—when we hit that wave of dizziness, or that headache won’t relent, it’s a pretty good indication that our body is sending us a clear indication: SLOW DOWN. Allow yourself to rest. Allow yourself to give your body a break.
And now, I’m going to take a nap.
Wingate Wilderness Therapy is a program for teens and young adults to help them step back from the busy, chaotic life that is causing them so much stress and to live in nature for a small while and get back that sense of relaxation and wonder. To find out more, call us at (800) 560-1599.