Whatever your situation in life, you are not immune to stress. It affects all of us, and we need it to a certain extent.
There is a point when stress becomes excessive, though, leading to a slew of potentially crippling problems. It’s clear that chronic stress has a direct effect on one’s mental health, but fewer people are aware that consistent stress can actually make your body sick.
Getting sick from stress often goes misdiagnosed, but the fact remains that our bodies are directly affected by the way our minds handle stress. We’re going to discuss some ways that you can reduce stress in this article, hopefully, preventing you from getting sick.
How to Defend Yourself Against Getting Sick From Stress
Right off the bat, we should acknowledge that everyone’s stress is a little different. Some people get stressed about the state of their dirty laundry, while others are consistently hammered by the ins and outs of modern life.
Whatever your source of stress, it’s crucial that you identify it accurately. Failure to acknowledge stress is often the reason that it develops, turning into something that causes one to become sick.
If you know you are stressed but cannot pinpoint the origin or causes, it may be helpful to seek out counseling. There is no shame in going to a mental health counselor. In fact, even those without mental illness or chronic stress often seek out counseling services to reinforce their mental state or receive personal guidance.
Beyond counseling, though, there are a number of ways that you prevent yourself from getting sick from stress.
We all hate to hear that we should exercise more, but the fact remains that exercise is one of the best antidotes to chronic stress.
Exercise attacks the problem from a number of angles. First and foremost, it improves circulation, reduces stress naturally, and introduces endorphins into your system. As a result, you are a calmer, happier person after working out.
Something so simple yet so effective should always be tried first. Further, exercise improves a person’s self-esteem and confidence. In most stressful situations, self-image does play a role.
So, whether you’re stressed as a result of social situations or work overload, your self-image will affect the way you perceive and are perceived in situations.
Finally, exercise will amp up your body’s ability to defend against sickness. If you’re experiencing a lot of stress and can feel different elements of your life, including your physical health, starting to wane, try to incorporate daily exercise first.
While mindfulness may be a “trend” that has washed up on the shores of popular culture and may soon be gone, it is nearly a proven fact that the practice of mindful meditation has a myriad of mental and physical health benefits.
The term “mindfulness” may be misused and underplayed too often, but a close look at the practice will certainly give you some insight into how to fight stress.
The principal idea behind mindfulness is that you simply become more aware of your thoughts and your environment. Many people don’t give their immediate experience any thought, failing to notice the stimuli and thought patterns that cause them stress.
If stress is purely a response to environmental and mental difficulty, a change in perspective can certainly alleviate most, if not all, unhelpful stress.
That said, it may be difficult to acknowledge and properly address the sources of your internal stress. We often exist on a hotbed of old memories, beliefs, and failures that dictate how we act in the present moment.
Those things are difficult to come to terms with, and we have to accept that change is a requisite for stress relief.
Don’t Do It Alone
Although we’re ever-connected by social media, it seems that real, lasting connections are harder to find these days.
While you may consider yourself a lone wolf, you might want to reconsider whether that’s good for your physical and mental health. Loneliness, as it turns out, isn’t great for a human being’s mental health.
Not only is stress reduced when you have people to support you on your journey, but genuine (in person) human connection is valuable for its stress-relieving qualities.
In fact, simply hugging often can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and increase oxytocin, which is known as “the bonding hormone.”
Watch What You Eat
There are so many connections between diet, mental health, physical health, and stress, that you could write volumes and volumes on them.
When you starve your body of essential nutrients and eat fatty, unhealthy foods instead, you deprive yourself of fuel for your brain. Your brain requires nutrients to control your emotions, keep you motived, retain focus, and stabilize your mod.
When those elements are thrown out of whack by a poor diet, stress is bound to creep into your life in a severe way. Not to mention, your body may become sick as a result of diet alone.
Make a Point to Relax
Our last point is that you should do your best to sit back and relax at some point every day. You may think that you give ample time to relax, but when was the last time you really rested?
Make a ritual of sitting down at the end of the day, turning your phone off, turning the screen off, and doing nothing. Your body needs time to recuperate– there’s a lot happening throughout the day, and your phone in your face only continues the cycle of daily stress.
Try investing in your relaxation, too. Take a look at some high-quality massage chairs, buy a new comfortable blanket, check out a few books, or buy a state park pass to get out and take a picnic with you.
The point is, you have to slow down otherwise you’ll burn out.
Need Help Getting Healthy?
Whether you think you’re getting sick from stress or you just want to take things in a healthier direction, we’re here to help.
Explore our site for more information, tricks, and tips on how to get healthy.