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The dangers of chronic stress

Published on August 12, 2015 by Dr. Myra Reed

Stress—our response to physical, mental or emotional factors our bodies perceive as danger. Years ago, this stress response was essential for life as it stimulated our senses and physical performance to run or fight.

Your stress response is usually temporary. Once a perceived threat or danger has passed, your body will return to normal function. But for many of us, constant stress leaves this response running for long periods of time and can trigger a variety of health problems in just about every part of your body.

 

Some of these include:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Digestive problems (indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, etc.)
  • Depression and/or anxiety
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Memory loss or trouble concentrating and much more

Take control of chronic stress

The pace of everyday life, busy schedules, demanding careers and traumatic events can pull your body into a health slump. Not every stressor can be controlled, and only you can take control of how you respond to the demands around you. Here are some ways you can get back on track:

  • Eat a healthy diet. Grabbing too much fast food leaves you lagging in important stress-busting vitamins and nutrients. Key nutrients like B vitamins, vitamin D, and essential minerals can help you feel calmer, sleep better and live healthier. Pack healthy lunches and keep snacks on-hand in your car or purse to avoid the drive through.
  • Get plenty of sleep. Adults need about seven hours of sleep each night. Practice healthy sleep habits by avoiding bright screens (like cell phones or TV) an hour or two before bed and cool your bedroom to about 69 degrees. 
  • Practice relaxation or meditation techniques. Finding quiet time to breathe deeply and meditate, pray or relax helps bring down the heart rate, breathing, and stress hormone levels—leaving you more focused and refreshed.
  • Build healthy relationships. It might be hard, but in some cases cleaning up those unhealthy friendships can really lower stress. Eliminating relationships with people who are negative, combative, or emotionally draining can help you restore positive feelings.

 Does taking control of your stress feel like a task you just can’t win? I’m proud to offer lifestyle management guidance here in the office. This includes teaching you relaxation or stress management strategies in addition to giving you tools to manage the side effects of chronic stress like weight gain and poor nutrition. In fact, many of them are the same strategies I use myself.

Call the office today and make an appointment. We will sit down together, I’ll take time to listen to your concerns and answer all of your questions—and you can finally learn to beat chronic stress.

 


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