Low Amounts of Chronic Stress
Stressed? If you are, just how much and how often are you stressed? Is it something that occurs once in a while when a “situation” arises (acute), or something you deal with on a daily basis (chronic)? We can’t avoid stress altogether, but there are things we CAN do to avoid letting stress negatively affect our overall health.
Acute stress (i.e. short-term, in the moment stress) isn’t necessarily all bad. The physiological changes our body goes through when acute stress occurs can even be beneficial. Acute short-term stress is kind of like a workout – it makes our body more robust and actually helps strengthen our body. In the fight-flight scenario, stress produces what our bodies need to either deal with the situation or to get away from the situation. In either case, this type of stress reaction can be helpful.
Chronic stress, on the other hand, has both immediate and long-term effects. The problem comes when the short-term acute stress becomes chronic stress which affects your immune system, which leads to inflammation, which leads to disease, which causes stress…. well, you get the idea. Kind of an endless cycle. The good news is, it’s one that can be broken.
We all need successful ways to prevent acute stress from turning into chronic stress and if we deal with chronic stress, successful ways to combat it.
People living in blue zones purposefully and methodically address their stress. They are known to have a glass of healthy wine with family or friends, take a slow walk in nature, spiritually or religiously commune with friends, or meditate on their core beliefs to adjust their mental attitude. In other words, they learn to go with the flow. Sounds like good advice!
There are many methods to release stress, and it should be a vital part of your healthcare routine. A few ideas:
- Take a hot/cold contrast shower (20 seconds really cold, 10 seconds hot, repeated 10 times);
- Do some high-intensity training exercise;
- Meditate (any type will do);
- Write down three things each day that you are grateful for;
- Write one kind note daily to anyone (family, friend, acquaintance, or stranger);
- Join a spiritual or religious community that lifts you up.
Pick just one or two of the above and commit even just a couple minutes a day to develop small habits. Small good habits over time become big life changers, but for now, simply focus on one or two small things to do daily (or maybe even just 5 days a week).
The number one method I use for stress relief is breath work, which triggers your parasympathetic nervous system and stimulates the vagus nerve to calm you. What I like most about breath work is you don’t need anything other than YOU. Air is free. As long as you can breathe, you can use this method for stress relief, anywhere, at any time. There are many different types of breath work, and I don’t necessarily consider one over another. But I do consider breath work the BEST method for stress relief, instead of resorting to a prescription drug or supplement.
The bottom line: You can’t avoid stress entirely, so take the time to develop your arsenal of weapons to combat it. It can be as simple as breathing. 😉
https://dryoshirahm.blogspot.com (great free health articles & videos blogs)
https://dryoshi.com/events/ (super helpful free events with local community health professionals)