Take a deep breath…after all it is National Stress Awareness month! For many, it’s easier said than done to take some time for themselves and unwind from the day, but this month serves as a reminder that we must. Stress can trigger a slew of other health complications including stroke, seizures, and heart disease. Everyone has their own ways to de-stress, whether its reading, jogging, yoga, frozen yogurt with friends, retail therapy (new medical uniforms!), hitting golf balls, you name it just make sure you make time for it!
Here are some ways that reduced stress can have a positive effect on your life and health:
- Boost up your immunity-chronic stress can double your risk of catching a cold because it weakens your body’s ability to fight inflammation.
- Keep a happy heart-stress, along with poor diet, and lack of exercise are the major risk factors for heart attacks, high blood pressure, and other coronary complications.
- Maximize your memory & decision making –stress has been shown to damage parts of your brain that are involved with memory and learning, and several studies show it may also accelerate the development of Alzheimer’s. When you’re less stressed, you have a clearer picture of risks and rewards. Stressed out individuals tend to focus only on the positive side of the decision at hand, thus increasing the likelihood for impulsive actions.
- Keep off the pounds-no surprise here, stress makes it harder for us to resist comfort foods and can even encourage junk food cravings.
- Decrease depression-chronic stress can kill brain cells and possibly prevent the creation of new ones in the area of the brain that handles a healthy response to stress.
- Slim your stroke risk-a study done at Cambridge University in 2007 showed that lower stress levels led to a 24% lower risk of stroke!
- Ban the breakouts-stress has been shown to increase oil production and thus exacerbate skin problems like acne and psoriasis.
Tell us! What tips work for you to keep the stress away?