The Moodkiller We'd All Do Well to Kiss Goodbye

Stress comes into play when demands exceed your ability to cope. Sometimes a positive reaction to stress can drive you through completion of a project or enable you to meet tight deadlines. But too much stress -or consistently negative reactions to stress- can tip the scales over to the realm where negative health consequences occur.

Impact of Stress on Physical and Emotional Wellness

Personal or professional stressors can impact a person's overall wellbeing. As multiple stressors pile up, the body's complex stress response system is overwhelmed, causing negative immune system and mental health consequences. Anxiety, insomnia, and a weakened immune system are some possible effects of stress on the body.

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Cardiac rehabilitation programs that incorporate stress management training are known for reducing stress, according to psychologist James Blumenthal, Ph.D. and colleagues. Future cardiovascular events were just about halved by those programs that included stress management.

How to Manage and Avoid Stress

Different people handle stress differently. Some manage stress by connecting with nature through gardening or hiking. Music and art provide an outlet for others. Solitary activities like meditation are preferred by some while team sports and events are preferred by others. Reduce stress and its effects by finding ways relevant to you to deal with it as it occurs.

Techniques to reduce stress

Practice mindfulness and meditation to help tune into your own needs. Discover new perspectives and compassion for oneself while your body learns to release pent up emotions. Meditation and exercise produce similar physical benefits.

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Give yourself permission to take a time out. Before you allow a stressor to take control, walk away. It's amazing what 20 minutes focused on an enjoyable or calming activity can do for the mental side of stress management.

Make human connections. Choose an entrusted friend or family member to share concerns and receive validation.

Exercise. Long-term physical and emotional benefits of exercise are incredible. Even 20 minutes of exercise can provide some immediate effects on the body and mind.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is available through many smartphone apps. Those who prefer self-guided therapy turn to apps, several of which employ mindfulness and meditation. If self-guided therapy isn't your thing yet you find stress getting the best of you, consider enlisting the help of an experienced cognitive behavioral therapist.

Laugh more. Reducing stress can come down to increasing smiles and instances of laughter. Tension often hides in face muscles, so laughter really can be the best medicine to relieve tension.

Our brains and bodies are connected in ways that are just being discovered. We know mental and emotional stressors can affect physical health and vice versa. Choosing activities that can help the brain and body unwind together help us release stress before it gets dangerous.