The advancement of modern life brings with it many enjoyable and pleasant experiences, but it’s also fraught with a slew of new sources of stress. These sources of stress can stem either at home, school, workplace, and more. Without a doubt, stress is now part and parcel of human life and is something that’s almost unavoidable.
Despite what people may think, stress isn’t always necessarily bad. A bit of stress can actually give you the much-needed push to help accomplish your tasks quickly. Although a manageable amount of stress is beneficial, it becomes problematic once it becomes chronic. Learn how chronic stress endangers your health and how you can combat it today.
Cortisol and Stress
To better understand how stress can harm our health, it’s necessary to first learn how the natural bodily function produces it. Whenever we are in situations that can induce either physical or emotional stress, our body’s sympathetic nervous system kicks in and begins a series of processes that activates our fight-or-flight system. These processes result in physiological changes such as elevated heart rate, increased blood pressure, and more. One of these processes is the release of cortisol.
The presence of the cortisol hormone in your body signals the release of another substance called glucose, a type of sugar that aids in your fight-or-flight response by providing sufficient energy to your muscles. Once the threat that activated the response passes, your body naturally reduces and prevents your cortisol levels back to normal. However, if stress becomes chronic, cortisol levels can remain elevated and contribute to a host of health hazards in the long run.
Health Risks Related To Chronic Stress
As mentioned, leaving stress unchecked can worsen current conditions and increase the risks of others, such as depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and cardiovascular diseases, to name a few. Below are the common health problems associated with stress:
- Heart disease
- Gastrointestinal problems such as irritable bowel syndrome
- Headaches and migraines
How To Manage Your Stress And Safeguard Your Health
Virtual doctors in Singapore and other medical professionals highly advise that you practice stress management methods whenever you’re feeling too much pressure in your daily life. Here are 4 ways that you can fight back your stress and reduce it effectively:
1. Follow deep breathing exercises
Incorporating a few minutes of breathing exercise in your daily routine can help calm you down and tame your physiologic response to stress. Deep breathing encourages full oxygen exchange, effectively slowing down the heartbeat and lower or stabilise blood pressure.
As a tip, blend deep breathing with helpful imagery and focus on a word that will help you relax.
2. Always make time for the activities and hobbies you enjoy
Even if it seems like work and personal obligations are taking up every second of your day, never forego the time you have for yourself to rest and relax. Simply doing the things you enjoy during your leisure time is one of, if not the most effective way of combating and reducing the stresses of your day.
3. Regularly exercise
Whether it’s a short walk around the neighbourhood with your dog or a high-intensity workout early in the morning, make sure to squeeze in some exercise in your daily schedule. Physical activities help to reduce the body’s stress hormone, including cortisol. It also helps to stimulate the production of endorphins, the body’s natural mood elevator and painkiller. As such, be sure to clock in at least 150 hours of exercise a week to revel in its benefits.
4. Keep your problems in perspective
Going back and forth over past mistakes or worrying sick about current circumstances that are no longer in your control is only bound to increase your stress even further. To combat this, you can first take stock and analyse the situation, temper your expectations of the possible consequences, and learn areas on how to improve. Having such a systematic approach will help you better navigate your stressful situation and emotions, effectively reducing your stress.
Too much stress can impair your daily life and even put your health at risk. If you feel like you have too much stress on your plate, don’t hesitate to take some time off to take care of yourself.
If you need help dealing with your stress or the illnesses that may have arisen because of it, see a doctor online and via the MyCLNQ app today. As the leading app for telemedicine in Singapore, you can receive all your medical needs and have your queries about stress answered all in one place.