Stress has been called “the silent killer” and can lead to heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and other serious medical conditions. The term stress is a derivative of the Latin word stringere which means to draw tight. Stress can change blood sugar levels, encourage mood swings, fatigue, high blood sugar and metabolic syndrome.
According to Heartmath, more and more women are suffering the ill effects of stress than ever before. April is stress awareness month, time to take a peek at your stress level and see just how well you are managing the little, or big, bumps in your life.
What Stress Can Do
While stress can make us crabby and a bit obsessed about certain things in our life, it can also be much more destructive. Recently there has been an increase in the number of women who are suffering such things as weight gain, irregular menstruation, depression, digestive difficulties, insomnia and heart conditions as a result of stress in their lives.
Stress is most common amongst women who struggle to find a balance between their work and their homes, their children and their jobs or any other number of things that require serious multi tasking. Women are contributing now, more than ever, to the family income; in 1988, women contributed 37% to the family income, today it is more than 48%. This in itself, can be highly stressful.
Getting Serious About Stress
Even if, you appear calm and cool on the outside, your body soaks up stress like a sponge. While you may think you have everything under control one day, you could have a stroke the next day. It is that serious.
Stress builds up, and without a release, it has nowhere to go. The body does its best to cope but after extreme periods of consistent stress it can no longer keep up. Getting serious about stress management could, in fact, save your life.
Incorporating stress management tools into your life is an essential part of health maintenance. Here are some practical ways to bust stress.
Eat Well: Processed foods are loaded with artificial ingredients and sugar that hype up the body. Sugar can create a false high because of the impact that it has on blood sugar. Vicious spikes in blood sugar puts tremendous stress on internal organs.
Consuming a well-balanced diet loaded with organic fruits, vegetables, healthy saturated fats from organic meat and poultry and tropical oils and raw nuts and seeds will provide a healthy environment for your body to respond to stress appropriately.
A nutrient deficient body does not have the ability to cope. Most people who succumb to stress are nutrient deficient, so it is essential first and foremost to eat healthy.
Sleep Well: Stress may create problems with insomnia, but insomnia can also induce stress. It is a vicious cycle. While it can be extremely hard to get enough sleep with a pressing schedule, it is imperative to make time to sleep. During sleep, the body can focus on restoration and rejuvenation.
Without downtime things become disorganized inside the body, the cells communicate poorly and mismanagement occurs. Be sure that you are giving your body at least 7 hours of maintenance time each night.
Sleep in a dark, cool room, free from electronic devices. Set a consistent bedtime and wake time so that you train your body on what to expect at certain times. If you need help sleeping, choose a natural sleep aid such as lavender or valerian root.
Make Time for Those You Love: Not spending quality time with your family or friends can be highly stressful. Many people suffer from constant guilt because they feel unable put time into important relationships. Scheduling time to spend with those closest to you can be incredibly rewarding and helps you to prevent and manage stress. Make your relationships a priority.
Practice Meditation: Meditation has been used for thousands of years to calm the mind and body. Focused breathing exercises and imagery help you to look inward, away from the external stressors. Meditation allows you to escape from the chaos that surrounds you.
Escape to your quiet place for at least twenty minutes a day and you will find yourself relaxed, energized and ready to take on the rest of the day, no matter what comes your way. By stilling your mind, you are giving your body a chance to optimally heal itself at a rapid rate without any brain chatter and distractions.
What is your favorite stress buster?
-The Alternative Daily