Health Benefits of Reducing Stress
High levels of stress can have serious effects on your health and quality of life. When you’re unable to cope with chronic stress from work, relationships, finances, etc, your body responds by increasing blood pressure and heart rate, and producing stress hormones. These can lead to serious health problems, not to mention weight gain, depression, and many more.
One of the hormones produced when stress is elevated is cortisol, which is released in response to stress by the adrenal glands. If there is not a physical release of the stress (like through exercise), the cortisol levels build up in the blood, which can have a snowball effect on your health.
The good news is, you can make some simple lifestyle choices that will help reduce stress and lower your cortisol levels.
- Maintain a healthy diet by choosing a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy protein, plenty of fiber, and good hydration. These will provide you with the all important nutrients needed for your cells to run at full strength when you need it most. When you don’t have enough intake of these good nutrients, the body’s immune system is greatly affected and that’s when you end up getting sick on top of being stressed. It’s easy to turn to ‘comfort foods’ during these stressful times, so be sure to avoid the unhealthy foods made with white flour, sugary snacks and drinks, chips, etc.
- Keeping a food journal is a powerful tool to help you see what foods you’re eating, in what quantities, and when you’re having the most trouble (it maybe at certain times of day).
- Regular exercise helps to relieve stress and tension, thus reducing your cortisol levels. Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every day, or higher intensity workouts 3 days/week. Join our fun fitness groups offered 4 times/week or I can work with you one-on-one at your home for convenience.
- Since you can’t get all the nutrients you need through your food alone, take a quality supplement daily.
- Incorporate functional activities into your daily routines by walking to work if it’s nearby, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, park your car in the spaces farthest away from the store when shopping, take a morning or evening walk with your dog or friends, take the kids to the park, the list is endless.
- Try to get outside, enjoy some fresh air, and get some much needed vitamin D by getting at least 15 minutes of sun time per day. If you can’t get outside or it’s winter time, take a vitamin D supplement daily.
- Aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night, especially during stressful times.
- Many of us are living a high stress lifestyle and trying to do more things in less time. One way to combat this is to try and keep your schedule as open as possible where you have control, so when something stressful does come up, you will be able to handle it better with less to juggle around.
- By reducing your stress, you can help prevent many diseases and illnesses.
Are you wanting to put an end to some of the stress in your life? Reap the health benefits of reducing stress by making some of these simple changes above. You can reduce your stress and receive the benefits of taking action to improve your health, I’m here to help you get started!