Tips for Managing Stress
Many Americans report feeling increased stress. A 2018 Gallup pool of more than 150,000 Americans found that Americans reported more stress than any other group in the world. Stress – especially chronic stress – has a negative impact on the body’s physiological functions and overall health. Self-management strategies, like the tips below, can be helpful in many cases. For more serious problems, you may need the assistance of medical professionals such as those at PrimeCare Urgent Care in Cumming, Georgia.
What is Stress?
Coined by endocrinologist Dr. Hans Selye, the term stress is usually defined as “the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change.” A stressor might include environmental conditions such as extreme heat, cold or noise. Strong emotions may also cause stress. A high-pressure work environment or deteriorating marital relationship are other common reasons for an individual’s stress. The stress itself is not the problem. It is the individual's reaction to stress and his or her inability to manage stress that creates difficulty. The response is highly individual, as some people thrive in high-stress conditions while others develop distressing symptoms.
Stress and Health
People exposed to stress react with biological changes such as increased or decreased hormone secretion, muscle tension and anxiety. In particular, chronic stress causes an increase in cortisol, which is often known as the “stress hormone.” Cortisol, produced by the adrenal glands, helps to regulate blood sugar levels, reduce inflammation, and control the body’s salt and water balance. High cortisol levels can also affect cognitive abilities, decision-making and judgment. Stressed people may try to cope by using alcohol, drugs or food. Addiction and obesity are two possible results of stress, which can also increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and digestive disorders.
Stress Management Tips
Everyone has some stress in life. Research shows that neither the amount nor type of stress makes much of a difference. It's how you manage your stress that really matters. Try these tips:
- Eat a healthy diet to ensure your body has the right kind and amount of fuel.
- Exercise regularly – a 30-minute walk every day is all you need.
- Get enough sleep. Most people need seven to nine hours of sleep a night.
- Practice relaxation techniques. These can include deep breathing, meditation or prayer. A massage or aromatherapy treatment might also help you relax.
- Take regular breaks during the workday and make time for hobbies, friends and downtime at home.
- Avoid excess caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and other substances that may make stress worse in the long run or affect your health.
You’ve tried all the tips above and you still feel anxious, depressed or angry? Or perhaps you have body aches, digestive problems or headaches. In that case, it’s time to visit PrimeCare Urgent Care. Located at 2021 MarketPlace Boulevard in Cumming, Georgia, we offer primary health care and urgent care to people of all ages. Please call 770-292-9982 or simply walk into the clinic.