Stress can affect all of us, for many different reasons. It could be work-related stress, relationship stress, financial stress, and so on. There are so many different reasons you might be stressed, but what those reasons are don’t matter, and you should never be embarrassed about the cause. What does matter is prioritizing your well-being, because stress can cause several serious health issues including:
1. A Lowered Immune System
When your body is stressed it produces adrenaline and other hormones that give you the extra edge and push you to need to deal with the challenge at hand. It is these very hormones, however, that put stress on your immune system, making you susceptible to illnesses.
2. Hair Loss
Stress, typically, causes the body to produce cortisol, the flight-and-flight instinct that heightens our awareness. High cortisol levels, however, mean that other hormones that promote healthy hair and even cell regeneration aren’t being produced. Similarly, telogen effluvium can occur, where your stress can force many of your actively growing hairs into the telogen (resting) phase, causing an increase in hair loss. In some cases, your body’s immune system could actively attack your hair follicles. Thankfully, in most cases, your hair should return to normal after you have dealt with your chronic stress.
3. Heart Strain
Stress puts a lot of strain on the body. It can cause stomach issues, muscle pain, but most worryingly, it can cause heart strain. Stress hormones can make your blood vessels constrict as well, which further increases your blood pressure and your risk for heart attack or stroke.
All of these symptoms must be managed, because they can exacerbate the stress you already have, worsening your mental and physical condition. Learn how to combat stress early on, and you can manage it before it becomes a problem. Ways you can relax vary, and include:
1. Healthy Eating
Healthy eating leads to a healthy body, which in turn can help combat many of the worst symptoms of stress. Aim to eat more fruits and vegetables (which can boost your immune system) and foods that produce serotonin, like those high in fiber. What you should avoid at all costs, however, are foods that cause your blood pressure to rise, like fatty foods, sugar, and caffeine.
2. Meditation Techniques
Meditation can mean a lot of different things, but the focus here is to break away from your stressors and focus on breathing. Guided relax hypnosis techniques can help you reset your stress, allowing you to break out of the negative downward spiral that chronic stress causes.
3. Improve Your Sleep
Stress can affect your sleep quality, which is why you should adopt a new bedtime regimen. To start, turn off all electronics in your home off once the sun sets, as it is the blue-light from these devices that can disrupt your circadian rhythm, worsening your sleep on a daily basis. Then, before bed, try the meditation techniques you’ve found work for you. Be consistent with your routine, and you’ll see an improvement in your sleep quality.
4. Start A New Hobby
Starting a new hobby or more deeply pursuing an existing interest is another great way to combat stress. Whether it’s a new sport, taking an online course in photography, or learning a new craft, focused activity helps take the mind off stress inducing thoughts. For example, I am learning how to make my own t-shirts with a heat press. The whole process from making a design, to cutting the design, to pressing it on a t-shirt takes concentration and thought, and I find it very satisfying. I find it very calming and I have a fantastic product to give away or sell at the end!
Don’t let stress get you down. It can be painful, it can be psychology damaging, and it can be fatal. Instead, prioritize your wellbeing and your health, so that you can live a better, happier life.