Stress is a word and a feeling that many of us know well. We all experience it from time to time, and while it can be a healthy reaction in some circumstances, stress negatively impact your overall wellness if it persists.
As the body’s natural reflex for survival, stress prepares the body to react in dangerous situations. However, this becomes an issue when stress levels remain high – also known as chronic stress.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, “in the past year, 74% of people have felt so stressed they have been overwhelmed or unable to cope.” Because chronic stress is so common, The Pavilion Senior Living is sharing healthy and effective ways to manage and reduce stress.
How Does Stress Affect You?
According to the American Institute of Stress, “stress is a natural physical and mental reaction to life experiences.” For example, when the body senses a threat or experiences stress, this triggers the release of adrenaline and cortisol.
According to Healthline, “[adrenaline] makes the heart beat faster, increases blood flow to the brain and muscles, and stimulates the body to make sugar to use for fuel… A mind full of thoughts, anxiety, and worry also stimulates your body to release adrenaline and other stress-related hormones, like cortisol (known as the stress hormone).”
Unfortunately, these moments of anxiety or prolonged stress can lead to a number of chronic health conditions, including:
- Anxiety and depression,
- A weakened immune system,
- Circulatory issues that may lead to blood clots or stroke,
- Heart disease,
- Gastrointestinal issues,
- And even Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia.
The impact of chronic stress on the mind and body goes further than stress alone. This makes finding strategies and ways to manage stress even more important.
Ways to Manage Your Stress
Determine What Triggers Your Stress
Just like there is no one-size-fits-all remedy for stress, there is not only one thing that causes stress. It could be several things, and just because something causes you stress does not mean it has the same effect on others.
The key is to find out what causes stress for you. Once you know what triggers your stress, you will be able to adapt to those circumstances or avoid them altogether. Anytime you start to feel stressed, make a note of your current situation. If you keep this up consistently, you should start to recognize any patterns and common triggers that lead to your stress.
“Stress and anxiety that occur frequently or seem out of proportion to the stressor may be signs of an anxiety disorder. An estimated 40 million Americans live with some type of anxiety disorder (healthline.com).” In these situations, it is recommended that you speak to a healthcare professional to determine the best course of action for you.
Harvard Health Publishing shares, “exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that are the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators.”
While aerobic exercise is the best way to stimulate the release of endorphins, not all physical activity has to be high-intensity to offer stress-relieving benefits. For instance, taking a leisurely walk through your neighborhood can help too! Other activities that have been linked to reducing stress include:
- Tai Chi
Maintain a Healthy Diet
While it may not seem like food and stress have anything in common, the phrase “you are what you eat” is cliché for a reason. Maintaining a healthy diet is an effective way to manage stress.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “nutrition is important as stress can deplete certain vitamins, such as A, B complex, C and E. Maintaining proper nutrition not only helps your body feel better, but your mind as well, which allows you to better combat stress.
How Senior Living in Tennessee Can Reduce Your Stress
At The Pavilion Senior Living, our mission is to provide senior living that you and your family can trust. Our communities offer varying lifestyle options that can help you create the retirement lifestyle you want without having to worry and stress about maintaining your home or completing household chores.
Whether you are active and want to enjoy a maintenance-free lifestyle or you could benefit from additional support, we have a level of care that is right for you. To learn more about life in our communities, visit our website or contact a member of our senior living team in Tennessee.