According to Cleveland Clinic, stress is defined as “the body’s reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response.” These reactions can be physical, mental, or emotional. While stress is how the body adapts to change and is natural, chronic stress can lead to other health problems.
When your body senses danger, stress, commonly referred to as the “fight or flight” response, releases adrenaline and cortisone into your body and bloodstream. While this natural reaction allowed us to adapt and evolve in more primitive times, it is not as crucial in modern-day life. A little stress can be healthy, but the problem arises when we experience constant feelings of stress and anxiety.
Health conditions associated with chronic stress can include:
- High blood pressure
- A weakened immune system
- Anxiety and depression
- An increased risk of heart disease
With senior living communities in Alabama, Community Senior Life knows that feelings of stress and anxiety are common among older adults. Finances, health concerns, certain medications, and loss can contribute to these feelings.
The first Wednesday in November is National Stress Awareness Day, and we are recognizing it by sharing tips on how to reduce and better manage feelings of stress and anxiety.
How to Reduce and Manage Stress
Ask Yourself, “What is Causing Me to Feel Stressed?”
We all have different ways of reacting and handling circumstances that life throws our way; what may cause stress for one person may not for another, and stress affects everyone differently. The first step in reducing your stress is to figure out the root cause of it.
Figure out and take note of the triggers that result in you feeling stressed. By doing this, you can address each of these triggers individually.
Stress and anxiety can often overwhelm us when we focus on the past or worry about what could happen or come out of a particular situation. By practicing mindfulness, you are able to quiet your mind, live in the present moment, and enjoy the now.
Meditation is a great way to practice mindfulness. By sitting with yourself and actively clearing your mind, you are able to rewire your brain, allowing you to focus on the present.
Stay Active Through Physical Activity
In addition to its many physical health benefits, exercise can help your mental wellness and alleviate feelings of stress and anxiety. When the body experiences stress, chemicals such as cortisone and adrenaline are released into the bloodstream. When you participate in physical activity, endorphins, the feel-good hormones, are released and help balance out the chemicals in your brain.
Take a Break from Your Routine
Many of us are comforted by structure and routine, but you must find relief when you are experiencing high levels of stress. By switching up a small part of your day or taking time off, a change in routine can significantly reduce your levels of stress and anxiety.
Maintain a Healthy & Balanced Diet
It is no secret that our eating habits directly affect our overall health and wellness, but nutrition also plays a major role in managing feelings of stress and anxiety. Our bodies need specific vitamins and minerals to function properly. When we do not provide this “fuel,” other health consequences emerge, such as stress.
A diet with high amounts of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and poultry is recommended, but one critical piece of nutrition advice that directly affects stress levels is avoiding sugar. According to healthline, sugary foods can weaken the body’s ability to respond to stress and can increase the risk of obesity and diabetes.
Understanding how to reduce and manage chronic stress benefits your overall health and wellness. When you experience less stress and lower levels of anxiety, you can live in and enjoy the present.
For more information on our communities or the services we offer, we invite you to contact a member of our team today!