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What is stress?
The stress response is evolutionary and has been a part of our lives since the beginning of the human race. Some refer to it as the fight or flight response. In our ancestors this helped to alert us when there was a perceived threat or danger nearby. There are good and bad forms of stress, we need it to survive but too much of the wrong type can be detrimental to our well-being.
We now experience different stressors in the 21st century other than those needed to survive in times before us. Some may argue there are more things to ‘stress’ about in this era with the exposure to new technologies. Workplace stress in particular is an epidemic in developed societies with over 40% of people in the US reporting their job was extremely stressful.
How can stress affect us?
In terms of how stress affects the body our friends at Spire have been doing their research. They have identified that when you’re stressed out, you never really enjoy the present moment. Not to mention the physical harm that comes from stress — increased blood pressure, intense muscle tension and erratic heart rates. A chronically stressed out mind is not good for your overall well-being.
How can we manage stress?
Learning how to manage your stress can be life saving and life changing. There are many ways to combat stress. One that may or may not surprise you is what we eat and drink. Have you ever felt so stressed out you want to eat all the comfort food? Or opposingly feel like you can’t eat a thing! There is a connection between emotion and what we eat.
Herbal teas have been found to have a great benefit on helping us de-stress and find a state of calm. Blends such as Chamomile, Linden and Valerian have been found to help us relax. And for those chocolate lovers, a few ounces of dark chocolate will reduce the levels of cortisol and epinephrine in the body especially after a stressful event.
Other ways in which we can reduce stress is through yoga and meditation. Yoga creates a connection between your mind and body yoga practices designed for rest and relaxation can help reduce the amount of mind chatter that often comes with stressful thinking patterns. Deep breathing meditation can be a great way of de-stressing and lowering the heart rate. Simply breathe in deeply through your nose, and exhale through your mouth until you begin to feel more relaxed. Focus on a mantra or a phrase of kindness for yourself and repeat it with each breath.
Consider adding Spire as an element to your stress management routine. Spire tracks your level of stress and sends you helpful notifications to tell you when you are getting too anxious. This lets you know that it’s time to take a relaxation moment to yourself.
To read more about stress and how to overcome it visit Spires blog for free information.