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Unhealthy Lifestyle, Part 3: Stress

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, nearly three in four adults across the nation deal with stress or anxiety every day. Many of these say that it interferes at some level with their lives, and about 50 percent indicated that their stress levels had risen in the past 12 months.

In small doses, the right kind of stress can motivate you to finish a job or perform well. However, in most cases, stress contributes to numerous health problems. Stress is the body’s response to danger, either “fight or flight.” However, problems arise when your body becomes stuck in the on position so that you constantly deal with stress.

Chronic Stress

Dealing with ongoing stress, such as job strain, financial pressures, relationship struggles and other problems will negatively affect you, both physically and mentally. Chronic stress is also associated with a lack of social support and with depression. Reducing your stress can improve your immediate and your long-term health. One study found a direct inverse correlation for every positive increase in emotions and the rate of heart disease. In other words, as positive emotions increase, the rate of heart disease decreases.


Physical Problems Related to Stress

Repeated studies have demonstrated the impact of stress and its relationship to the following health issues:

  • Heart disease
  • Asthma
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Headaches
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Accelerated aging and
  • Premature death.

Other problems related to stress include:

  • Poor mood
  • Sleep issues
  • Restlessness
  • Fatigue
  • Inability to focus
  • Negative impact on sex drive
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Overall muscle tension
  • Irritability
  • Rage and more.

How to Reduce Stress

You can work on reducing stress in the following ways:

  • Examine what’s causing stress.
  • Monitor your thoughts.
  • Document your mood and the reason for your thoughts.
  • Develop a plan to cope with stress.
  • Enlist help and set lower expectations regarding some areas of your life.
  • Learn productive ways to deal with anger.
  • Exercise at least five times a week. Exercise relieves the physical pressure that you are feeling. While people cope with stress in many ways — through talking, sleeping, watching TV or movies, listening to music and eating — healthcare professionals recommend exercise as the best method.
  • Join a local women’s gym, such as Flow Fitness Boutique, where you can enjoy the support of other like-minded women. Not only will your health improve because of exercise, but you will enjoy making new friendships as well. Enjoy the current trends in women’s fitness classes, such as body sculpt, trapeze flow, kickbox and core and more. We provide childcare, so you can work out in peace and in confidence that your little one is well cared for.
  • Work on improving sleep habits. We will examine sleep in a future article, so stay tuned.
  • Try basic stress relief techniques, such as deep breathing, changing your perspective, enjoying the moment and focusing on gratitude.
  • Participate in other hobbies, such as crafts, reading or listening to music.
  • Enjoy laughter.

Avoid unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as overeating, overworking, tobacco, excessive alcohol or drug use.

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