Reduce the effects of stress on your body
For some of us, our minds start working against us as soon as the alarm clock sounds.
“Will I be able to make that appointment in an hour?”
“Did I remember to pick up my suit from the dry cleaners?”
“What if I can’t leave my afternoon meeting in time to pick up the kids?”
We may believe we can manage our stress factors and stress levels; however, our bodies never truly adjust to stress. Plus, that panicked inner voice is very difficult to silence.
Studies show that everyday stress can play a role in heart health. Researchers in one study recorded brain, bone marrow and spleen activity of nearly 300 patients and tracked them for four years to see if they developed cardiovascular disease. During the study, 22 cardiovascular events, including heart failure, stroke, angina and heart attack, were recorded. Results showed that patients with higher amygdala activity were the ones who suffered the highest number of cardiovascular events. The amygdala is a portion of the brain that has previously been linked to post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression.
Managing stress is not only important for finding inner-peace; it must be managed in order to keep our hearts healthy. That’s why we should condition our minds to actively resist stress and control our environment as much as possible.
Here are seven tips on how to manage stress:
- Remember this mantra
“Don’t go in your mind where your body is not.”
Stay focused on the present, and don’t worry about things you cannot control. When you climb into bed at night, don’t allow your mind to drudge up every negative situation you encountered during the day. Don’t fret over tomorrow’s tasks. Stress causes insomnia, which can affect your productivity the next day, cause you to be irritable and, ultimately, raise your blood pressure.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff
You’ve heard it a million times, but it’s one of the most important keys to inner-peace. Our tendency to overreact and think the worst contributes significantly to everyday stress. Will the boss really be that upset if you are five minutes late? Will the soccer team’s bake sale truly suffer if you contribute a pan of brownies made from a box instead of whipping up a homemade, three-layer cake with elaborate icing?
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your daily life, create a daily schedule and force yourself to stick to it. It’s simple. If you have 15 minutes to help with the bake sale, don’t commit yourself to creating a dessert that will take 45 minutes. Commit to doing only what you can successfully achieve in the allowed time. If you fail to meet others’ expectations, they are at fault for having unreasonable expectations.
Forcing yourself to do more than you can successfully handle may cause stress that leads to headaches, muscle tension, fatigue or pain. It can force you to overeat or make unhealthy food choices, which can ultimately affect your heart health.
Don’t let other people’s expectations affect your well-being.
- Stop wasting energy on being worried, angry, hurt or frustrated
Let the past go. If this requires professional counseling, don’t be ashamed to go that route. There is no reason to put yourself through mental anguish about things that happened in the past. You are only hurting yourself and taking your focus off the present.
Change your environment, so these negative emotions are less likely to be triggered. Put that old photo album in storage if you don’t want to see it every time you dust. If you find yourself constantly upset that your children didn’t carry the laundry upstairs, put the laundry up yourself. Which is more important: teaching them how to carry laundry up a flight of stairs or keeping your inner-peace? Don’t set people up to disappoint you, and then be mad when it happens.
- Allow your body to recuperate
Ongoing stress can impact your dedication to an exercise schedule, cause you to overeat or lead you to use tobacco products. Many people consider these activities acceptable since they ease stress, but these behaviors ultimately affect your heart health.
Instead, rely on positive solutions. Essential oils work well to ease tension throughout the day, as do breathing exercises such as meditation.
Hold your calls for 10 minutes, shut the door and take 10 minutes to breathe. Try our step-by-step meditation guide.
Routine physical activity is also key. According to research, exercise is as good for the mind as it is the body. One study found that 45 minutes of moderate exercise decreased inflammation significantly. The study went on to emphasize how a decrease in inflammation seemed to impact the mood and stress level of those suffering from lupus.
We all suffer from inflammation at times, whether it’s from an injury, an ongoing battle with arthritis or gout, or simply the result of bacteria and toxins in the body. Keeping your mind and body relaxed and in prime condition is essential to optimal health and longevity.
- Believe in yourself
Be mindful of how your inner voice affects your actions. Is your head telling you that you’re incapable or that you aren’t good enough? Take a moment to question why these negative thoughts are coming to mind.
It’s possible your negative thinking comes from a failed attempt in the past. Remember that we aren’t living in the past. Things change. People evolve. What happened last time is not necessarily going to repeat itself.
Women tend to struggle with self-esteem issues more than men. According to the American Psychological Association, women who live in industrialized countries in the West have lower self-esteem than men. This was recognized after a study surveyed over 985,000 men and women from 48 countries. The study also showed that self-esteem in both genders tended to increase as the study participants aged. The study was conducted over a period of 10 years.
- Do what makes you happy
We all need hobbies and projects that make us happy to be alive. You are never too busy to do what makes you happy. If you can’t find the time, you should reevaluate your priorities. Doing good and feeling good are essential to inner-peace.
When you aren’t at your best, it’s difficult to give your best. Make time for whatever brings joy into your heart and strengthens your soul, be it reading or gardening or spending time with family. This is your life. You should relish it. We don’t have unlimited time on Earth, so make the best of it.
- Respect yourself
Some of us are more vulnerable than others when it comes to falling into toxic relationships. Generally speaking, there are certain character traits that place one in danger of staying in a toxic relationship.
Perhaps we force ourselves to think the best of people and situations, even when they are affecting our happiness and health. Maybe we don’t like to hurt other people’s feelings, even after they have continually hurt us. It’s possible we are afraid of losing that tiny bit of happiness we manage to scrape together while in a toxic relationship.
Whatever it is, some people continually fall into toxic relationships and toxic situations throughout their entire lives.
You may be in a toxic relationship without realizing it. According to research, unpredictability is what keeps a toxic relationship alive. There are highs as well as lows. It’s easy to believe that things will improve, even though there’s a pattern of constant struggle.
You have permission to leave that toxic situation. Do it for yourself and for the people who love you and don’t want to see you hurt anymore. Do it because it’s causing you stress and affecting your health.
Practice these seven steps to avoid stress factors, find inner peace and stay heart-healthy. A healthy mind inspires a healthy body.