Image result for 7 Top Tips to Reduce Chronic Stress and Improve Your Health"

Everyone experiences stress. However, stress can quickly become overwhelming if it is not managed properly. Daily triggers or one-off events can induce a significant stress response due to the perceived inability to cope. Following a stressor (e.g. daily hassles, work, fatigue etc.) instigating a physical response from the body (e.g. increased breathing rate, heart rate and sweating rate) in the form of a ‘flight or fight’ response, the body is primed in a state of alertness. Whilst this can be useful for concentration and productivity, it is important to reduce high levels of stress, to avoid the negative impact of chronic stress on long term physiological and psychological health.

Why is important to reduce your level of stress?

Chronic stress is responsible for inducing adverse long-term health implications. If stress is not managed properly, severe health conditions may be a consequence. Some of the common risks associated with stress are highlighted below:

  • Hair Loss – Hair loss can be a side effect of chronic stress, however, it is associated more strongly with severe traumatic events[1]. Hair loss treatment is available from reliable sources such as Pharmica Online Pharmacy and may help to effectively attenuate hair loss.
  • Unintended Weight Changes – Stress can cause rapid weight change. Unintended weight loss is caused by increased energy metabolization and a reduction in digestion functionality when the body experiences perpetual high stress situations[2]. Furthermore, the risk of obesity is prominent due to rapid weight gain as a result of negative emotions and the craving for calorie rich foods.
  • Burnout Syndrome – Characterised by exhaustion due to intense, sustained psychological, emotional and physical fatigue[3].
  • Mental Health Problems – Psychiatric diseases such as anxiety and depression are increasingly likely due to impaired medial prefrontal cortex dysfunction; a result of chronic stress[4].
  • Sexual Dysfunction In women, stress can be a distraction causing reduced sexual drive and sensation[5]. For men, erectile dysfunction is associated with chronic stress and is inferred to be both a cause and effect[6]. Treatment for erectile dysfunction may offer a quick solution for erectile dysfunction treatment or be used in parallel with psychological treatments.

7 Top Stress Busting Tips

  1. Exercise – Exercise is reported to significantly reduce stress induced anxiety and is positively associated with improvements in well-being, mood and general health[7]. Low-moderate intensity exercise for as little as 20 minutes per week is reported to reduce anxiety sensitivity[8]. Sleep quality can also be positively improved following exercise where stress-induced fatigue can instigate further stress[9]. Furthermore, exercise stimulates the release of endorphins which are responsible for inducing feelings of euphoria, happiness and positivity which can effectively improve mental health[10].
  2. Meditation – Meditation only takes 5-10 minutes to effectively reduce stress. Often overlooked, meditation can be a very effective coping strategy. It involves mindfulness, whereby you get comfortable and close your eyes to relax, you then are attentive to your breathing to calm the mind[11]. This is followed by reflection on your surroundings, emotions and feelings. This process can be extended if necessary, for further relief. 
  3. Yoga – Yoga involves self-compassion and awareness, where your mind and body become one. Yoga actively involves stretching and controlled body movements; however, it combines spirituality more intensely than traditional exercise. It is widely acknowledged that Yoga can yield effective psychological and physiological benefits[12].
  4. Lifestyle changes – Addressing the main triggers of stress in your life may be obvious but not always easy. This might consist of sleeping more, changing your diet, exercising more frequently or identifying an alternative stress coping strategy. It may be instinct to isolate yourself when you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed. However, engaging and sharing with others can help to relieve some of the cognitive strain and help you to identify a solution. Being proactive is fundamental to identifying an effective solution.
  5. Medication – Prescription medication me be sought, following advice from a doctor or GP. Medication can assist with symptoms of chronic stress such as depression and anxiety. It is advisable that alternative stress mediating practises are explored prior to use of medication.
  6. Counselling – Therapy can help with relief from symptoms of mental health diseases such as anxiety and depression brought about by stress. It may offer an effective solution if other strategies are unsuccessful.
  7. Improve your sleep – Sufficient sleep is also crucial to offset fatigue and reduce stress. Getting better quality sleep can reduce the risk of getting burnout syndrome which describes complete psychological and physiological exhaustion[13].