3 Simple ways to minimize effects
The word “Stress” is a common enough word. It is a constant factor in most people’s lives and a term used to refer both to daily pressure and overwhelming situations.
Stress is a cascade of physiological reactions to a challenge or demand, such as frustration, danger, anger, or anxiety. Short bursts of stress can be beneficial – avoiding danger or meeting a deadline.
Tension is normal. But when left uncontrolled, it may harm your health.
TYPES OF STRESS
There are two main types of stress:
Acute stress is short-term.
It is a physiological reaction triggered by a situation, person, or event. It comes and goes quickly. It helps you manage new, exciting or dangerous situations – the “flight or fight” response.
Chronic stress lasts for an extended period.
Unfortunately, chronic pressure becomes familiar and hence ignored– examples include money or business problems, relationship issues, or trouble at work.
HOW DOES YOUR BODY REACT?
As your body encounters, stress hormones are released.
These hormones increase alertness and heart rate, oxygenate the blood, and tense muscles — preparing the body for action.
However, with chronic stress, your body stays alert – regardless of the presence of danger.
Over time, this state of “always on” increases the risk for chronic health conditions, including:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Depression or anxiety
- Skin problems, such as eczema
HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?
Often discounted as everyday aches and pains or a body’s typical response to aging, these symptoms, both physical and emotional, may indicate health issues caused by long-term stress.
Typical signs include:
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Upset stomach
- Use of alcohol or drugs to relax
- Weight loss or gain
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Frequent aches and pains
- Lack of energy or focus
- Sexual problems
- Stiff jaw or neck
DEALING WITH STRESS
Commonly referred to as Grounding Techniques, these are simple actions that help to relieve immediate stress.
One of the simplest techniques to ease tension and stress is something we instinctively do; breathing.
Take deep, deliberate, and slow, easy breaths, exhaling completely for a minimum of thirty seconds. Many fitness trackers or phone apps have guided meditation or short breathing exercises.
The 5-4-3-2-1 technique
The goal of the 5-4-3-2-1 technique is to use the five senses to recenter your thoughts on the moment – minimizing stress-causing ideation.
5. SEE: Count five things you can see.
4. TOUCH: Count four things you can touch.
3. HEAR: Count three things you can hear.
2. SMELL: Count two things you can smell.
1. TASTE: Count one thing you can taste.
Physical activity improves oxygen use and blood flow – having a direct effect on your brain. It also increases endorphin production – “feel-good” neurotransmitters that promote a sense of well-being and euphoria.
Any level of exercise will work -you don’t need to run a marathon helps take your mind off your worries. And, by concentrating on the rhythm of the movements, one can produce similar benefits to meditation — providing calmness and clarity.
THE BENEFITS OF LONG WEEKENDS
When is the last vacation you took?
Even a short vacation can reduce stress. A change of location serves to remove a person from the triggers and environments associated with strain and anxiety.
And a recent Japanese study found a short, three-day leisure trip reduced perceived stress levels and reduced the “stress hormone” cortisol levels.
Stress is positive and negative.
Running a business adds numerous levels of stress from the minute the business cards are printed. However, just as we work to keep our businesses healthy, we should be mindful of personal health, allowing us to enjoy entrepreneurial accomplishments.