‘Stress’, if it goes unchecked, can cause major medical problems and can even be deadly.  Elizabeth (Eliya) R. Kleber  AS, BSN, RN, CMSRN discusses stress, its effects on your health and a few tools to combat it.

Stressing me out…        

by Eliya Kleber RN

Did you know that stress is a primary cause of disease in America? Although it is the body’s automatic response to increase performance under pressure, a chronic state of stress can adversely affect every major bodily system. Whether it be a car accident or ongoing trouble with finances, the same reaction occurs—the heart beats faster, your blood pressure rises, muscles tighten, your respirations increase and your senses sharpen.

While this “fight-or-flight” response increases strength, stamina, and reflexes, the effects of living this way day-to-day are destructive. The immune system can become suppressed and high blood pressure can develop, increasing the risk of a heart attack or stroke. The aging process speeds up, infertility becomes more common, and we are left vulnerable to depression and emotional instability.

Our society functions on a high stress plane. A lot of Americans have little balance between work and personal lives. Many people see doctors for ‘medical’ problems, but fail to focus on factors, like stress, that affect their well being on a daily basis.

Here are 4 tools to proactively fight against the effects that stress can have on your overall health

  1. Strengthen the positive, energy-giving relationships in your life. Give your free time to them. Invest in your emotional health.
  2. Exercise. Dr. Dave explains the importance and benefits of exercise on the body and mind in detail. Thirty minutes a day strengthens your heart, excretes toxins, and increases energy.
  3. Choose a meditation venue.  Effective stress fighting examples: massage therapy, deep breathing techniques or yoga.
  4. Make a point to smile at the people you encounter. Give a compliment. Laugh. Not only does laughter release endorphins (our body’s feel-good chemical), it may also decrease stress h      ormones and increase immune function and infection-fighting antibodies.

By reducing stress in our daily lives, we can change our emotional, physical, and mental health forever. Do so with intention!

Elizabeth (Eliya) R. Kleber  AS, BSN, RN, CMSRN, specializing in therapeutic touch