With April being Stress Awareness Month, there is no better time to discuss stress and strategies to handle it. Health professionals everywhere are joining forces to help bring awareness about the causes and cures of stress to the public.
Stress continues to be a major epidemic for Americans, meaning that it is extremely important to learn the signs of stress and the effects of stress on the body and mind.
Signs of Stress
At some point, everyone experiences stress in their life. Stress manifests differently for every person. However, there are common symptoms and signs of stress you can look for:
- Digestive issues
- Changes in appetite
- Elevated heart rate
Negative Effects of Stress
When you experience stress, a brain network is activated and stress hormones are released, the most notable of which is cortisol. In moderate amounts, this chemical can be quite helpful, as it breaks down fat and protein stores to mobilize blood glucose.
However, prolonged stress and its accompanying release of cortisol can manifest the negative effects of stress.
Perpetually high levels of cortisol can seriously affect the brain’s ability to properly function. High levels of cortisol can also lead to the development of mental illness such as depression, the loss of brain cells, and can even reduce the size of your brain.
Prolonged stress doesn’t just affect your brain, it also can affect other parts of your body in very significant ways, such as the increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
Chronic stress can also affect your digestive system, libido, and even your immune system, leaving you more prone to illness.
How to Relieve Stress
Fortunately, there are simple methods you can implement today to help you relieve the effects of stress on your body.
Regular physical exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health, as it comes with many benefits, including lowering cortisol levels, improving your sleep quality, and improving your mental wellbeing.
Performing deep breathing exercises can activate your parasympathetic nervous system which will help you relax. These exercises can also slow your heart rate, allowing you to feel more peaceful.
Spend Time With Friends and Family
Close relationships with friends and family can increase your feelings of self-worth. If you are feeling stressed, consider spending time with company whose presence you enjoy.
Contact Las Encinas Hospital
Las Encinas Hospital offers a variety of programs designed to help patients, especially those in the Pasadena area, who are struggling with psychiatric or substance abuse issues. If you or a loved one need professional assistance, contact Las Encinas Hospital today and see the Las Encinas difference for yourself.