Everyone deals with stress differently, and there are a range of things that cause stress for different people. Even individuals who don’t feel or recognize they’re stressed often have some level of underlying stress they aren’t aware of. Learning to recognize the feelings of stress and what causes it can help to minimize those factors and improve your overall health.
First, let’s talk about the physiological factors that happen when someone is stressed. Stress causes an increase of the cortisol hormone, and when you’re stressed for a long period of time, these cortisol levels are too high for too long. This can interfere with how your body functions. Cortisol can cause issues with your digestion and how your body uses nutrients, inflammation levels, blood pressure, blood sugar, your sleep cycle and energy levels. This can in turn cause anxiety, depression, heart disease, memory problems, digestion issues, trouble sleeping and weight gain.
Now, how can you work to keep these levels down so your body is running at its best? Decrease your stress levels! This is often much easier said than done, but if you’re mindful about it you could start to see some positive changes in your health which can lead to healthy aging.
- Maintaining a Healthy Diet – Eating more fish and foods heavy in omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce anxiety and depression. Getting plenty of leafy greens, protein, vegetables and staying hydrated are all part of that healthy diet.
- Take Time to Relax – In this busy world it is often hard to remember to sit back and take time to just think and be still. Let your thoughts wander and take a break from phones, computers and the television long enough to recharge.
- Go Outside – Taking an after dinner walk or just a quick stroll around your neighborhood helps to get your blood flowing and allows you to regroup and think through things that may be weighing heavily on your mind.
- Be Mindful of Negative Influences – If there are certain people or situations in your life that cause you stress, try to reduce your time with them if possible. Negativity from someone around you can cause feelings of stress that carry over even when you aren’t physically around them.
- Stay Connected With Friends and Family – Being around people you love and care about can instantly make things that are stressful seem less daunting.
- Get Plenty of Sleep – Think about what time you need to wake up in the morning and set an alarm to get into bed with plenty of time to wind down and fall asleep. Having routines at bedtime can also help your brain slow down and realize sleep is coming, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
There are many other ways that people find to decrease their stress levels. Just doing something fun or relaxing can give you a break when things begin to feel overwhelming. Sometimes we just need to sit back and remember exactly which things really matter and which things don’t. Taking time out for yourself to focus on your well being can go a long way in healthy aging and aging gracefully.
*This site does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.