18 Jul Why and How to De-Stress this Summer
Do you have a stressful job? Are you always worried about money, your health, or the safety of your children? While a little bit of stress in high-pressure situations can actually be beneficial, constantly elevated stress levels are not healthy. It might be time to let go of your stress and realize the true value of relaxation. Here’s why—and how—to de-stress this summer.
Health Benefits of De-Stressing
No one wants to have chronic stress, but the benefits of de-stressing may be more wide-reaching than you realize.
- Protect your heart: Intense periods of stress can produce such an adrenaline rush that your heart stops functioning properly. In the case of losing a loved one, this has become known as broken heart syndrome.
- Lower your risk of illness: Stress lasting longer than a month could double your risk for catching a cold. This is because stress hampers your immune system’s ability to fight inflammation.
- Improve your memory: Chronic stress may impair the function of the prefrontal cortex, affecting abstract thinking and cognitive analysis as a result. High stress has even been linked to the formation of proteins in the brain that lead to and accelerate the development of Alzheimer’s.
- Avoid depression: Prolonged exposure to the stress hormone cortisol can reduce the feel-good brain chemicals serotonin and dopamine. Stress can also worsen symptoms of mood problems such as depression and bipolar disorder.
- Make better decisions: The compulsion to de-stress in unhealthy ways, such as by drinking or smoking, increases as you become more stressed. Relaxing in healthy ways can help you think clearly so you can make the right choice when faced with an important decision.
- Maintain a healthy weight: Stress makes it harder to resist “comfort food” because cortisol, the stress hormone, increases your appetite and junk food cravings.
- Enjoy clear skin: Stress increases oil production in your skin, clogging your pores and causing acne. It can also cause psoriasis flare-ups if you have this skin condition.
Ways to De-Stress This Summer
Now that you understand the many ways de-stressing can benefit your health, it’s time to start lowering your stress level. Try several of these tips this summer to pinpoint the most effective methods for you.
- Go for a walk: Exercise is a proven stress reliever, but what if you don’t have the time or motivation to commit to a strict workout regimen? Simple—squeeze in a 10-minute walk each morning, on your lunch break, or when you get home from work. This will clear your head and increase your endorphins, which reduces cortisol levels.
- Smile and laugh: When you’re feeling overwhelmed, pause for two minutes to watch a funny video. A well-timed joke could be just what you need to break the stress cycle.
- Get together with a friend: Whether your goal is to distract yourself from the stress or vent about it, visiting your best friend could be just what you need. If you live far away, a simple phone call is all it takes to reconnect.
- Do breathing exercises: If your heart rate and blood pressure are up, bring them back down with some meditative breathing. Focus on your anxiety and stress as you breathe in through your nose, and then picture letting it all go as you breathe out through your mouth.
- Change your sleeping habits: You need quality sleep to combat stress. Aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on the weekends. You’d be surprised by how much you can accomplish if you avoid sleeping in.
- Eat healthier: The food you eat has a significant impact on your mood. You may instinctively reach for junk food when you’re feeling stressed, but it’s the fruits and veggies, whole wheat, and low-fat dairy that give you more energy, make you more productive, and improve your physical and mental health.
- Practice visualization: Sit down in a quiet place, close your eyes, and imagine a person or thing that makes you happy. You won’t be able to resist smiling as you picture playing with your dog, sitting on the beach, or kissing your significant other.
- Meditate: When you’re stressed, it’s usually because you’re strapped for time, so how could you possibly make room in your schedule to meditate? Give 5-Minute Meditation a try, and see what you think.
- Keep a plant in your home or office: If you find peace in nature, bring a little green inside. Houseplants are beautiful and comforting, but many can even purify the air to reduce your stress and anxiety. Chamomile, jasmine, lavender, and marjoram are particularly effective.
- Drink herbal tea: If you think the smell of chamomile is relaxing, you’ll love the taste even more. Steep a cup of your favorite herbal tea whenever you feel your stress level rising.
- Be grateful: Stress is sometimes the result of wanting something you can’t have. To make your unfulfilled desires less prominent in your mind, focus on what you do have.
- De-clutter: Living in a messy house is stressful. Purging your home of things you don’t need and organizing what you keep can be a profound way to de-stress.
- Avoid overbooking yourself: Having a jam-packed calendar is a common stressor. Give yourself a little downtime and eliminate the stress of being late to events by leaving cushions in your schedule.
Get Help De-Stressing this Summer
In addition to following the suggestions above, we recommend getting professional help with your de-stressing efforts if your high stress levels are causing physical pain. At Mile High Spine & Pain Center, we offer therapies designed to help our patients relax. These include:
Let the experts at our Broomfield office perform the therapies you need to help you de-stress like never before! To learn more about our services, or to schedule a free consultation, please call us at (720) 507-0080 or contact us online today.