The Unexpected Dangers of Stress and How to Combat It

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.

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.

Here Is How to Care for a Caregiver

According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, 44 million people in the US, or 20 percent of the population, provide unpaid-for care to another.

So chances are high you know of someone in the caregiving role. Or it could be that you are providing that care to an elderly or disabled family member or loved one.

IncrediCare, a home health agency, says of caregiving, “It’s a selfless act, it’s a wonderful thing, but the rest of your life gets put on hold. If you have a spouse and children, it can get especially taxing—you’re not at home as much as you should be, your children need help with schoolwork, your spouse is feeling neglected. There’s a lot going on. You need to lean back and just breathe and know that you’re breathing for you.”

Here are ways that experts suggest caregivers take care of themselves in order to stay strong and carry on.

Do not try to do it all alone.

Have you unexpectedly found yourself in the caregiving role? Take it as a compliment of sorts. It could be because you are the one closest to the individual who is deemed responsible enough to provide the needed aid. However, responsible individuals often find it hard to ask for help, believing that they should be able to handle it themselves.

The truth is that your sick loved one is not the only person whose health should concern you. One survey showed that the toll on a caregiver’s health increases over time and with hours spent in the caregiving role. Those with fewer hours spent caregiving reported that their health was excellent or very good. Whereas those providing a higher number of hours in caregiving were more likely to report that their health was only fair or even poor.

If your health continues to decline, you will not be able to care for your loved one. So taking care of your own health should be a priority. To do this, you will need to learn how to ask for help.

Have a family meeting or contact others close to your loved one. Be honest and specific concerning what you need help with. Often, individuals not familiar with what duties must be seen to are unaware of ways they can lighten your load. Prepare a list of tasks that others can help you with before you call your meeting so that you do not forget. Such meetings can get emotional, so prepare beforehand.

Be realistic about the emotional support you provide.

Dealing with a loved one who is battling with a long-term illness can be emotionally draining. Caregivers can often feel the need to provide for the sick person’s flagging emotions and spirits as well as attend to their physical needs. In your desire to help, be cautious of placing the weight of their happiness on your own shoulders.

The emotional health and happiness of another person is always the responsibility of the individual. Understand that your sick loved one will likely have bad days when he or she can’t help but express discontent. Realize that their happiness is tied to themselves and should not be dependent on you. Just as your emotions and happiness are your own responsibility.

Be aware of your personal signs of stress. 

Do you find it difficult to fall asleep at night? Have you lost your appetite? Or are you stress eating? Do you feel hopeless or depressed about your situation? Do you have difficulty coping with ordinary tasks? Do you no longer take joy in things you used to favor?

Watch how you behave in these areas, as stress often shows itself through poor sleep hygiene, depression, and loss of appetite. And can further go on to affect your health.

Even after you have asked for and received help, you may find yourself suffering from stress. Learn to watch yourself for signs that you are having difficulty coping.

Prepare coping mechanisms to keep stress in check and to avoid letting negative emotions build. This might look like a daily walk in the park. Or meeting a friend out for coffee or drinks every couple of days or as often as needed to keep yourself on an even emotional keel.

The way that you find peace and a method to release stress will be different for everyone. The key lies in knowing what you need to do to cultivate inner peace and schedule that activity into your daily life.

How Pain is Affecting Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop It

Pain is a very difficult aspect of life that we learn to deal with from an early age. Chronic pain, however, can quickly start to ruin your life. Depending on the severity and the cause, the pain you feel could be easily treatable with some simple lifestyle changes. That being said, you need to listen to your body. Prolonged pain can be an indicator of something more serious, which should be inspected by a doctor. The sooner you discover the source of your pain, the easier it will be to treat. When your pain comes from stress or other working conditions like poor posture, however, these fixes will do wonders for you:

How to Combat Pain Associated with Stress 

Stress causes your body to tense, leading to a whole collection of health issues if left untreated. One of the most common sources of pain from stress is back pain. This is because stress causes your muscles to tense, and if you don’t relax often enough, this can lead to muscle knots. Combat this pain by:

1. Treat the Physical Symptoms

Massages can help treat the physical symptoms of stress by massaging out the muscle knots that have caused you pain. Bath soaks, and other spa treatments, can also help with this. As an added bonus, these spa techniques help you relax in the moment, allowing you to regroup as you recuperate.

2. Stress-Busting Tips to Help You Relax More 

There are so many ways to combat stress. One of the most effective means is to exercise. Exercising can allow you to get rid of any pent-up aggression, while also giving you the endorphins and other feel-good chemicals that your body craves. As a bonus, exercising will also give you more energy, make you feel more alert and productive, and as a result, allow you to better face the challenges that head your way.

Other tips include doing more focus-based activities, like reading, yoga, or even making dinner. Doing this will help slow you down and give you something to focus on, instead of going through your phone. Your phone should be restricted to messages only. You do not have an obligation to answer your work emails, and you shouldn’t scroll through social media – not only can doing this be toxic, but it can also perpetuate the short-attention span society has now adopted.

How to Combat Pain Associated with Poor Posture 

Another work-related pain that is all too common is due to poor posture. This is because sitting at a desk all day can be tiring, and more importantly sitting incorrectly at a desk all day can lead to poor posture, resulting in stress on your spine. Treat the pain from poor posture by following these tips:

1. Chiropractors Are Your Best Friend 

If the problem is your posture, going to a masseuse won’t help. You need to go to a registered chiropractor, who will help get your body back into shape. Some problems will need multiple visits, others just one. If you are experiencing chronic pain in your joints, they should be your first call.

2. Opt for a Better Workspace 

There are new breakthroughs in ergonomic development all the time. That is why you should not only follow the news, but implement the best office environments for you. Even if this just means kitting out your office at home, or petitioning your employer to improve the office space.

3. Upgrade Your Bed 

Your body heals at night, so it’s no wonder that having a poor mattress or even pillows can severely hurt your body. Having a misaligned spine due to the wrong pillow, or having springs jutting into your back will all cause pain day in and day out. The only way to stop pain caused by these problems is to upgrade your bed. Getting a new bed, however, isn’t the only step you need to take. Do your research, and read up on what the best pillow for neck pain is by clicking here. Find out which mattress is best for your body, and even what sheets make you most comfortable. Do this, and you will feel refreshed and great when you wake up.

Tips for Managing Pain Naturally 

Your lifestyle will determine a lot about how well you manage pain, which is why you should adopt these new habits:

1. Drink More Water 

Water can help in so many ways, particularly in the management of headaches, though drinking water, in general, can make you more comfortable and relaxed. If you are experiencing indigestion, water is another great way to ease the pain and to help you continue on your day.

2. Exercise Regularly 

Exercising can do wonders for your body because it releases endorphins that make you feel good. In terms of managing pain, exercise can help keep your body active and in motion, which in turn can help you deal with pain associated to movement.

3. Value of Stretching 

Stretching or yoga is a great way to keep your body pain-free. For the same reason that a chiropractor can help alleviate the pain in your joints and your posture, so too can stretching. For maximum benefit, learn how to stretch correctly from a chiropractor, so you don’t accidentally make your pain worse.

When to See a Doctor 

Not all pain can be fixed by these simple lifestyle solutions. Some pain is indicative of a more serious condition that needs to be diagnosed by your doctor. Don’t put it off, either, as early detection could mean the difference between making a full recovery, and not making it at all.

Pain is not something you should learn to live with unless you absolutely must. Even then you should follow your doctor’s regimen and advice to help manage your pain the best you can. Dealing with pain caused by stress or work, however, is something you can combat. Remove the stress and better your posture, and you’ll find that you will be happier, more productive, and have a better outlook on life.

How Can Stress Affect Your Health?

Life can be stressful at times, with many demands on your time, it can sometimes feel as though there aren’t enough hours in the day. While everyone has a tough day now and then, there are times when this can be bad for you. If you start to become stressed every day, then those same hormones that trigger stress can start to cause more serious problems. Here is how stress can affect your health if you don’t do something about it.

What Causes Stress

When you are confronted with a situation that causes you to get frustrated or worried, such as being stuck in traffic, it can trigger a response in your brain. The hypothalamus, which is the brains control tower, starts to send stress hormones; it’s these hormones that start to trigger the fight or flight response. It is a natural reaction to things that make you feel threatened, but modern-day problems can also trigger it. It causes your heart to race, your breath to speed up and your muscles to tense. While getting stressed every so often is ok, if you start to get this every day, that’s when the problems can start.

Headaches

With so much going on to get you stressed, you might think that you are getting headaches because you are tired. However, headaches can be a common sign of stress. Not only can you get headaches, but it can also trigger painful and debilitating migraines as well. Stress type headaches typically feel like a tight band around the head, whereas migraines usually center over the eyes. While painkillers can alleviate the symptoms, they will keep returning until you learn to deal with the stress or remove those situations from your life.

Muscle Tension

As the stress hormones are getting your muscles ready for the flight or fight response, they can get painful and tense, especially if there is nowhere for the energy to go. One way to help is to go for a walk or a jog if you have the time. Using up the energy in the muscles can prevent them from becoming painful and help the hormones to disperse. Another good way to ease the pain is to do stretching exercises such as yoga or Pilates.

Sleep Problems

Another area that is affected by stress is your sleep. With so many hormones running through your body, it can disrupt your sleep to the point where you find it difficult to get to sleep. If you do manage to get to sleep, it can also cause you to wake frequently. Relaxation exercises before bed can help to alleviate the problem; it is also important not to have any stimulants before bedtimes such as tea or coffee. If you are the type of person that likes to work in bed or just before you go to bed, then you need to try and finish about an hour or so before you go to bed. It will give your body chance to rest and relax, try listening to some music or perhaps a talking book.

Digestive Issues

The stress hormone can also affect your digestive system. Some people experience heartburn or a worsening of existing heartburn when they become stressed. Others can start to feel nauseous and get an upset stomach. These symptoms are common with excessive stress and can be relieved if the factor causing the stress can be removed. There is some research that suggests Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS can also be caused by stress or at least made worse by it.

Hair Loss or Thinness

The effects of stress can have an impact on other areas of the body. There is evidence to suggest that stress can cause some types of hair loss in men and women. It can be distressing and lead to even more tension. It makes for a vicious circle that also leads to depression and anxiety. By trying to relieve some of the stress and manage the anxiety, it can halt the effects. Then, with the help of companies such as Capillus, you can start to generate new natural hair growth.

Changes in Mood

It might not be noticeable to the person with the stress, but changes in mood can be picked up by others. Typically, friends and family will notice the changes that can include irritability, anger, short temper and mood swings. In many cases, the stress that the people are under means they cannot see how it is affecting other people. It is important that they are supported and encouraged to lower their stress levels so that their mood improves.

Eating

Some people will experience changes in their appetite when they become stressed. It is not uncommon to find those under stress to overeat or the opposite and under eat. Both of these can cause their own problems such as high blood pressure and fat accumulation around the internal organs. That is why it is vital that they find some way to minimize the stress they are under and try to stay on a healthy diet to control weight gain.

Anxiety and Depression

Unfortunately, the effect of too much stress can sometimes cause people to become depressed and develop anxiety. It often happens to people who are more sensitive to stressful situations. It can also cause many of the symptoms of mood changes including mood swings and irritability. It can be difficult to help people that are experiencing depression, but it is important that they get the support and therapy they need to make a recovery. By trying to encourage them to seek help and to interact with people in the same situation, you can help them on the road to recovery.

Stress can have a huge effect on your body and your mood. While you can never totally get rid of stress in your life, it is important that you do all you can to reduce it as much as possible for your benefit and that of your family.