Stress Awareness Month – April 2019:
Since 1992, April has been the host home for Stress Awareness Month across the nation. The stress epidemic is especially relevant within our Americanized culture. Majority of Americans maintain an all work and no play mindset which can further explain the recent surge of high-stress levels within our society. Over ⅓ rd of adults have reported feelings of an increase in their stress levels just within the last year. Younger generations like Millennials and Generation Z actually have higher levels of stress when compared to older generations, such as Baby Boomers. This just shows us that stress is a much more important and much more relevant topic within society today than it ever was before.
How Stress Impacts our Mind and Body:
Stress considerably affects our brains and how well they function overall. Luckily in today’s culture, mental health and the struggles that come along with it are often much more openly discussed on a regular basis, but yet still, many of us are blind to the major mental and physical health ailments that stem directly from our levels of stress.
Stress and the Body:
We all know that stress is certainly in no way beneficial to our bodies, but when we consistently experience high levels of stress, we are at a much greater physical health risk than we could ever imagine. High levels of stress can create various physical diseases and symptoms, such as consistent and severe migraines, insomnia, high blood pressure levels, and a greater risk for future heart disease. Not only that, but those that have been diagnosed with chronic stress are faced with a greater chance of a diabetes diagnosis. Lastly, stress has a major impact on the functions of our bodies hormones in both men and women alike, ultimately impacting the fertility levels of both sexes. However, this conversation is essentially more relevant for women, as stress levels directly affect the production of hormones that are necessary for a woman to successfully get pregnant. The hormones are so greatly affected by our stress to the point that in some extreme cases, it can lead to a lifelong infertility struggle.
Stress and the Brain:
Stress as a whole is an overall mental process that seemingly never ends. Stress is a sensation that can place the brain at a higher risk for more extreme damages. For instance, high-stress levels can enable the killing off of brain cells. Due to this loss of cells, individuals can next be faced with the risk of shrinking in overall brain size. When these symptoms occur within one’s brain, we are also placed at a much higher risk for memory loss, or an overall consistent foggy brain. As stated before, stress is a mental process. These harmful mental impacts of stress increase the risk of mental illness within individuals. Some of the most common mental illnesses that typically occur from stress include that of anxiety and depression. These mental illnesses are greatly emphasized by the feelings of stress, which can lead to even more physical and mental issues down the line. Each of these severe diseases and symptoms come directly as a result of extreme stress.
Coping Mechanisms for Stress:
Most of us have poor coping abilities when it comes to actively handling our stress, or some of us don’t even think we need to handle our stress at all. These helpful tips are proven to be some of the most effective stress relievers and are extremely easy for anyone to use.
In today’s modern technological day and age, mediation has never been more accessible. Various iPhone or Android meditation apps have flooded the App Store market. These apps offer up simple in-home meditation sessions that can be tailored exactly to focus entirely on reducing your stress. Even a quick 5-minute session with one of these apps is proven to reduce overall stress levels. This happens by lowering one’s heart rate and stimulating a calming effect over an overworked mind, and its racing thoughts.
We all have heard or read that exercise has been proven as a mood booster by various medical professionals and websites, and this still rings true when it comes to stress. Exercise becomes the perfect remedy to distract a worrying and stressed out mind. The hormones that are released when one is exercising are particularly effective when it comes to fighting stress because they initiate a relaxed state onto the mind. At the same time, exercise can also help individuals to avoid the potential risks of physical illness or disease like the cases of heart disease, or high blood pressure, that come along with extreme stress levels. Adequate exercise kills two birds with one stone when it comes to coping and managing your stress.
Talk it Out:
Positive thinking and communication is one simple way to effectively get your mind off the negative thoughts and feelings that come in association to stress as it creates a mental distraction for the mind. Talking to a trusted friend, or speaking with a medical professional can further help you to understand what the root of your stress really is, and helps you to properly acknowledge these deeper feelings. When people push down their stressors, chronic stress is more likely to occur. When we actively discuss our internal struggles, we open doors that we sometimes may never have known were there. In certain cases, speaking with your doctor will allocate for a specialized treatment plan. Some patients may find themselves prescribed with certain medications, while others will simply be better informed about what they can do at home in order to reduce their stress.