Tag Archives: stayingcalm

The Scary Ways Stress Affects Our Health. Pt 1


Photo: Simran Sood

Welcome Back to the LETS TALK ABOUT STRESS series!

It’s no secret that stress takes a toll on our mental and emotional health, but did you know  it can also wreak havoc on our physical health? In fact, stress is a major contributing factor to many of the most common health concerns, from heart disease to obesity. So what exactly happens to our bodies when we’re stressed? And more importantly, what can we do to combat the negative effects of stress?

Chronic stress can take a toll on your body, causing  a variety of symptoms. You may experience:
Headaches
Muscle tension or pain
Chest pain
Fatigue
Digestive problems
Sleep problems

We will divide this segment in two parts, for the sake of time and attention span. Today, we will look at how stress affects our mental, emotional, social wellbeing and sleep habits, as well as useful coping mechanisms. Part two concludes by examining the affects on diet and eating habits, overall wellbeing.

Stress is a normal part of life, but it can take a toll on your mental health. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or just not yourself, stress could very well be the culprit. Chronic stress can lead to problems like anxiety, depression, and trouble sleeping. It can also make physical health problems worse.

If you’re struggling to cope with stress, there are things you can do to feel better. Talking to a therapist can help. So can exercise, relaxation techniques, and making lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet and getting enough sleep.

How Stress affects your emotional health
When we’re stressed, our bodies release a hormone called Cortisol. Cortisol helps us regulate our metabolism, but when we’re constantly under stress, it can have a negative impact on our emotional health.

Studies have shown Cortisol can cause symptoms of anxiety and depression, and interfere with our ability to form new memories and concentrate. In addition, cortisol wears down our immune system, making us more susceptible to illness. 

Exercise is a great way to reduce stress levels, spending time with friends and family can also help. If you’re still finding it difficult to cope, it’s important to talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.

How Stress affects your social health
Chronic stress can have negative effects on your social life. You can become withdrawn and irritable, anxious and depressed, which in turn negatively affects your relationships. It is important to make time for yourself, and focus on your mental and emotional health.

How Stress affects your sleep.
Stress can cause us to have trouble falling or staying asleep, and it can lead to restless nights. Over time, you can suffer from sleep deprivation. Stress hormones like cortisol, can make it hard to fall and stay asleep. Cortisol is a hormone that helps us deal with stress, but it also makes us more alert and can keep us awake at night. Racing thoughts and worry keeps us awake at night. Physical symptoms like headaches or muscle tension are not uncommon.

There are a few things you can do to try to improve your sleep. First, try to stick to a regular sleep schedule as much as possible. This means going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, even on weekends. Second, create a relaxing bedtime routine; taking a warm bath or reading a book. And finally, try some relaxation techniques like deep breathing or visualization before bedtime.

Let me know if you found any of these suggestions helpful!

To Your Success,
Juan

 

Calm & Centered


Dear Followers,
Thank you for being here. The world as we know it has changed, forcing us to adjust to a new normal. For the next several months, it is my hope the pieces I post here, will help get you through the unprecedented times ahead. Once the worse is over, I can refocus on my original plans for the blog. I have a responsibility to help through this medium. We are always better together!

As COVID-19 slowly makes its way into major cities and small suburbs across the nation, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to remain calm and not panic. We have been told by authorities to stay in our homes in order to prevent spread, but that does not mean that we should go crazy inside and solely focus our attention on what is happening with the world outside. Try to limit how much news you watch, especially some of the overhyped reporting that only propagates fear and anxiety. First and foremost, get updates and facts from reliable sources, and then focus your attention elsewhere.

You can avoid contact with other people and wash your hands more carefully, but your ability to remain calm comes from within. That means you’ll have to take the necessary steps in reducing your stress,  anxiety and promoting calmness while the virus runs its course.

Meditation & Mindfulness
So, you’re anxious and stressed as a result of the rapid spread of Coronavirus. If you’ve never attempted meditation or any mindfulness techniques in the past, this is a perfect time. According to the Mayo Clinic, meditation can play a huge role in helping you to maintain your mental and emotional health, even benefiting aspects of your physical health.
Meditation can help you have a greater outlook on life (positivity, increased feelings of calmness, greater self-awareness, reduced levels of anxiety and stress, and improved focus. The best part is, there are many different types of meditation. If you’re able to focus for long periods of time, guided meditations or visualization techniques are the ways to go. When you’re looking to stay more active while quarantined,  yoga or Pilates are great options!

Finding a Creative Outlet
You might be stuck in the house for the next few weeks, but it doesn’t mean you have to resort to going stir crazy. In fact, this might only increase your feelings of panic! This is a great time to try out some new (or old) creative hobbies. When you’re focused on building or creating something new, you’re reducing the amount of focus on the negativity surrounding you. Creativity is a solid way of helping you to relax. There are a few things you might want to try out (if you have supplies at home); painting, coloring, or drawing, singing or playing musical instruments taking photos or videos of things you enjoy, building something with things lying around the house, writing, puzzles, learning a new language.
Reading something and then writing an essay about it (yes, remember English 101 class?). This is a great way to take your mind off the world’s troubles. Basically, the goal here is to find an activity or task, that requires an intense amount of focus and makes you happy. You won’t even notice that you spent the last hour drawing your favorite cartoon character.

Giving Back & Helping Others
It’s completely natural to be fearful of the unknown but giving back to others can help you to tackle fear. When you’re giving back to the community or helping those in need, you’ll be working to spread compassion and happiness rather than fear and anxiety. With so many people sick or self-quarantined, most people aren’t permitted to leave the home. However, these individuals do still have needs that they now can’t meet on their own. As long as you’re keeping your distance, you can deliver food and groceries, or do things like their yard work. It’ll make you feel good about yourself while also helping those who need it! So, call your neighbors, post something on your Social Media, to let those in need know you are available and how to get in contact.

Final Thoughts
You might not be able to cure COVID-19, but there are things you can do to reduce panic and invoke an overwhelming sense of calmness. By taking advantage of mindfulness, looking for a creative outlet, and even giving back to those who need it, you’ll be able to stay calm and centered, even now!

Until the next post,
Best,
Juan