Stress Reduction for The New Year
We all know stress doesn’t feel good. When we feel stressed, it seems like everything else is also going wrong… and this feeling isn’t isolated.
When the human brain experiences a stressor, a part of the brain known as the HPA axis is activated – triggering a flight or fight response. In turn, this tells the body to make cortisol (adrenaline) which leads to physical symptoms. This stress response will manifest as a fast high heart rate, occasionally heart palpitations (irregular heartbeats), increased glucose levels, perspiration, and more.
And while this is the body’s way of protecting itself under attack, this state of being while sitting in traffic, working on a computer, or just going about daily life can lay the groundwork for chronic illness if left unchecked.
Over time, this stress pattern can develop into long-term feelings of restlessness, anxiety, and overall discomfort. It can lead to high blood pressure, headaches, irritable bowel, and many additional physical ailments.
Stress Prevents Progress
Stress targets the cardiovascular, immune, and nervous systems, making it more challenging to stay healthy and easier to develop disease. With higher stress levels, the body’s immune fighters, the white blood cells, are much less effective, and therefore you are at higher risk of disease and becoming ill.
If your new year’s resolutions involve becoming healthier, reducing blood pressure, losing excess weight, or ridding yourself of brain fog… reducing stress is a great way to start.
Studies have shown that unmanaged stress impacts health, memory, and progress. While managed stress levels can help prevent the risk of stroke, mental illness, dementia, and more.
Did you know that your resolutions become increasingly challenging to achieve when the body is under stress?
Under stress, elevated cortisol levels (stress hormones) flush your bloodstream, making it increasingly more difficult for the body to compete and “stay healthy.” High cortisol makes it harder to lose weight, sleep well, and feel calm under pressure.
Keep Chronic Stress At Bay
Although it is easier said than done, taking just a few minutes a day to practice stress-reduction techniques can improve stress levels over time. When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, ensure that rest and stress management are a part of it.
If you struggle to keep up with a busy schedule, find a way to alleviate the load and set realistic goals.
Wellness practices that never fail involve fueling the body properly and engaging in movement. Incorporating stress relief practices daily, such as walking, stretching, and mindful breathing can make all the difference. And for those of you that are still set on being couch potatoes, well, I have some exercises just for you … chair aerobics. While sitting and watching TV, pick up a soup can in each hand, and move your arms and legs until the first, second, or third commercial. Keep going, don’t stop, and pretty soon, you’ll be able to do the entire 30-minute show without stopping. That will get your heart rate up and your cortisol levels down. You will feel more calm and relaxed, more energized, and you’ll start to notice some positive benefits in your overall health.
And as always, getting the help of a professional for complementary therapy and medication can be a helpful way to keep you on track and feeling your best.
We all have stress in our life. How we handle it determines whether or not it leads to illness or adverse physical issues. Managing stress with mindfulness, meditation, physical exercise, and at times even medication or counseling really can start the New Year in a positive way.
If you have any questions about stress management or would like to schedule an appointment, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Neurology Office for assistance.
“For me personally, I’ve given up on unrealistic resolutions. Losing 20 pounds, going to the gym every day, or any other resolution that I know will be unsuccessful simply leads to stress and sabotages my best efforts. So I’ve learned, I make the same resolution every year… I just want to be better. A better husband, a better father, a better physician, a better coworker… Just better. And that is something I can certainly attempt to be successful at!”
Feel free to share this with the people in your life who may benefit from this information! For more insights on neurology, check out our weekly tips on our Neurology Office Facebook page.
“To Cure Sometimes, To Heal Often, To Comfort Always”
Neurology Office, Joseph Kandel M.D. and Associates
“Concierge medicine without the concierge price”