Why managing daily stress is essential for your mental health and well-being:

Stress is defined as the state of mental and emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances. It is the way your body manages external, mental or physical pressures.

When humans faced the threat of lions on the African savanna, their fight or flight response increased their survival rate. The fight or flight response allows you to fight or flee the dangerous situation.  Once the external threat is removed, the adrenaline subsides, and your body naturally begins to relax.  Unlike the African savanna threats, today stress is constant.  Continuous stress aggravates the nervous system; keeping it on high alert has a devastating effect on your overall health.

Humans cannot sustain prolonged periods of stress; our bodies just aren’t made to endure it. Stress corrodes the human body and causes premature aging. Chronic stress is connected to many unhealthy conditions including mental illness, cognitive decline and other chronic diseases.

Today people are over worked, they suffer from mental illness and anxiety, and they worry about the looming demise of our climate. Furthermore, people suffer from the stress of finances, health and health care. Stressors for the young include social media, technology, and the fear of gun violence in their school.

How do you know if you are on stress overload?  Your body starts showing signs of breakdown when it can’t handle the continuous stress.  Below are signs to look for to determine how your stress impacts your body.

  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Feeling overwhelmed and pressured
  • Mood dysregulation
  • Digestion irregularity, headaches, and chest pain
  • Skin irritation and allergies
  • Insomnia
  • Depression

If you suffer from stress overload, it is time to pay attention and work to mitigate the negative impact.  Below are 7 ways you can lessen the impact of stress.

  1. Eat. Nourishing your body with healthy food will provide you the strength and the energy needed to combat the impact of stress.
  2. Exercise. Exercise reduces adrenaline and cortisol, your body’s stress hormones and promotes the production of endorphins, your body’s natural mood elevators.
  3. Sleep. Your body naturally regenerates and repairs itself while you sleep.
  4. Talk. Talking about concerns and problems can help put them into perspective and provide insight into ways to handle them.
  5. Time.  Organization can help manage and use your time more efficiently.
  6. Help. Remember, no one can survive in a silo.  Asking for help is necessary.
  7. Relax.  Creating a meditation practice to actively calm your mind and body.

Being aware of your body and how it reacts to stress helps you understand how to manage your stressors, which positively impacts your mental and physical health.

“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another”- William James