When we discuss stress, we automatically think about the negative aspects of stress.
What is important to note is that not all stress is bad. There are actually benefits to having some stress, in appropriate doses. Some of the positive benefits of stress is it can motivate you to wake up and go to work each day and strive for success.
Stress gives you that little push to do what is needed, whether it is to get a job so you can pay your bills and not be homeless. Or, it can help you avoid a car crash or get out of a car that has already crashed and get you to safety. Healthy levels of stress tell your brain and body that you are in danger, getting you to move away from a negative situation, potentially saving your life or your lifestyle. An article in Health reports that good stress can make a person resilient and even help with child development.
Stress can be a true survival tool when it appears in lower levels.
It is when stress becomes overwhelming that it can create havoc on the body and disrupt many areas of a person’s state of emotional and physical existence. There are different types of stress that if not dealt with immediately, can create long term damage to a person’s overall health.
So, what are good stress relieving techniques?
Before we can answer that, we should consider exploring the types of stress.
Two Types of Stress
There are two major types of stress: acute and chronic.
The main difference between the two types is in the length of time and how often they occur. Acute stress disorder usually occurs after a traumatic event such as a death in the family, an accident or injury, or any other event that disrupts your life temporarily.
It can last up to a month, sometimes longer, and can appear as if the person is detaching from reality or isolating themselves, acting numb to certain situations.
This temporary type of stress can lead people to take off work due to a lack of motivation or ability to focus on anything else other than the trauma. For example, when someone has a sudden death in their family, time is needed so the person can adjust to this sudden and devastating change. Chronic stress disorder can be similar to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder but is not diagnosed as the same. Chronic stress disorder happens to a person who has witnessed a very traumatic event.
Their symptoms can be long term and can go away and come back many times.
People may develop anxieties related to this trauma and find it hard to return to the scene of the trauma or be around other people who were associated with the trauma.
This trauma is recurring and can interfere severely with a person trying to lead a life with structure and routine. It may be hard to determine when the traumatic stress will return. Both acute and chronic types of stress can be damaging to the body and the brain of the person suffering.
Damaging Effects of Stress
The American Psychological Association reports there are many effects of stress that are unhealthy for both our bodies and brains.
Stress can cause stomach aches and digestion problems.
What may start out as a nervous feeling can quickly turn into more unpleasant symptoms like diarrhea or vomiting. And in worse cases, ulcers can form, causing internal bleeding and pain. If a person has heart disease, a sudden and traumatic stress can cause a heart attack.
Headaches that appear from no other physical ailments, fatigue and feeling tired when you should be feeling healthy and energetic, participating in addictive behaviors such as overeating or abusing substances, and depression are all just a few of the numerous symptoms of too much stress. Psychological and physical stress can differ greatly and can show themselves in many different ways. Stress can cause difficulties in communicating, making it hard to build relationships.
Stress can also make a person have a poor attitude and mood swings.
These symptoms make it nearly impossible to maintain friendships or co-working relationships. In fact, these symptoms cause people to become even more isolated, even if that is not what they want. Being stressed can push people away, building barriers between important people in your life. In addition, stress can cause weight gain and weight loss, sexual dysfunction, hair loss, teeth and gum problems, and unhealthy skin problems.
These are all very scary issues that can lead to even more body and brain issues. Weight gain happens when there is too much of the cortisol hormone is released, creating that all too familiar belly fat. On the other hand, stress can cause a person to worry so much that they lose their appetites altogether, leading to unhealthy weight loss. Stress can affect sexual performance due to the distracting effect it has on the mind.
What Are Good Stress Relieving Techniques?
It is hard to get in the mood when you are worried about everything else going on in your life.
There has been plenty of research showing hair loss is a negative effect of stress. Some people automatically start pulling out their own hair when they begin to feel nervous or worried. It is almost like a calming effect for them even though it can have severe repercussions.
Many people find medicines can help them in dealing with their stress, from over the counter medicines to prescriptions to vitamins.
However, this isn’t the only approach.
Take a look below for a closer look at some of the more popular stress relief techniques.
1. Medication Strategies to Escape Stress
Sedatives can help with relaxation.
However, they can also be very addictive and dangerous when mixed with other medications.
Sedatives are to be taken on an as needed basis but often times, people become reliant on the medicine instead of implementing relaxation and other techniques that can supplement their treatment. It is much easier to pop a pill and twenty minutes later start feeling relaxed, according to some.
However, using sedatives less and alternative medicines or activities more is the safest route to take. If it is necessary to use medicines, knowing everything about the medication is key. Some medications commonly known to reduce anxiety and stress include Celexa, Prozac, Paxil, Amitryptilene, Effexor, Xanax, and Ativan. The two medicines out of this list to worry about the most are Xanax and Ativan.
There have been many users to accidentally overdose without realizing those two medicines mixed with other medicines are extremely dangerous. The prescribing doctor should know all medicines being taken by the patient so he or she can make sure no interactions will occur.
There are plenty of alternative medicines and vitamins a person can take to reduce stress.
Getting the right amount of nutrients can ease stress. Vitamin C helps to reduce cortisol levels. CoQ10 fights fatigue. Vitamin b eases stress. Magnesium can help a person relax. There is a hormone involved with sleeping. A good night’s sleep can help your body and brain recover from the day’s stressors. Fish oil regulates stress hormones and increases good blood flow in your body. It is never a bad thing to try alternative, less harmful medications before jumping right in to a prescribed substance. There are alternative therapies that can be used in conjunction with medicines. One of these includes treatment from a Chiropractor.
2. Chiropractic Tips to Escape Stress
Seeing a chiropractor can help in many ways.
By focusing on the spine and body parts that are in pain, Chiropractors can figure out a way to alleviate the pain that is causing the stress. Our nervous system has a lot to do with our pain levels and stress levels. Chiropractors work specifically on the nervous system which is connected to the spine.
Many chiropractors claim adjustments of the spinal column and healing the nervous system can lead to successful recovery of people fighting mental health disorders like ADD and physical disorders such as migraines.
In one study participants receiving a spinal adjustment were reported to have lowered cortisol levels, which relates to stress, and also decreased stress due to the pain they had before the adjustment. Dr. Dan Sullivan shows brain images of a patient who was given a MRI exam while being administered a stressor. The brain images showed a great deal of light spots, implying many triggers were going off in the brain to help the body cope with the stressor.
The same patient was immediately given a chiropractic adjustment, placed back in the MRI machine and given the same stressors. This time, after the adjustment, there were fewer light spots being triggered.
The doctor claims this is because the adjustment helps improve the nervous system, telling the brain there is not much stress, that the stressor can be handled with little effort, and not to worry.
3. Adult Coloring Books Create Calm
Break out the crayons and start coloring.
One strategy to reduce stress is by the use of adult coloring books.
Adult coloring books can be found in big box stores, grocery stores and even boutiques and gift shops.
The pages in each book are filled with beautiful and intricate details that allow an adult to color for hours. This is a distraction that has many health benefits. Medical Daily reports art can be healing. In studies of patients using art therapy were found to have more focus, less anxiety, positive changes in brainwaves that were found to bring on feelings of happiness and reward. In this episode of NBC Nightly News, explains the calming effects coloring offers adults and why adult coloring books are becoming so popular today.
This type of art therapy is being used in drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities, juvenile detention centers, school counseling courses, and even in jails. The focus and attention coloring takes allows a person to be distracted from their stressor, giving them the time they need to calm down and rethink important reactions.
4. Sex as a Stress Reducer
Believe it or not, sex can relieve stress and there is a lot of research to back up this claim.
Some benefits of sex, other than reducing stress, include giving a person physical activity that helps improve heart health. The joy from sex can also ease pain, even if temporarily. Like coloring, sex is a great distraction from a stressor.
In addition, sex has been proven to improve skin, enhance a person’s mood and help people get a good night’s sleep. An article in Women’s Health adds that sex can also help give you a toned body, a healthy glow and can even help build up a strong immune system giving a person less colds. Since we know that when we are sick we are stressed, from physical aches and pains, to mental worry, anything we can do to build up our immune system is worth it.
Sex can offer laughter, relaxed muscles and a release of tension, all of which can lower stress levels.
5. Laughter Has Many Benefits
Some researchers claim laughter can help with stress reduction just as well, if not better, than medicines.
Laughter can change a person’s perspective from negative to positive. It can also boost endorphins, which cause a person to feel happy. And in many instances, a good laugh can cause your whole body to relax. The American Physiological Society claims even the anticipation of a laugh reduces stress hormones.
Laughter increases beta-endorphins which are associated with reducing depression. They can also increase immunity. Laughter Therapy has been researched among cancer patients in efforts to decrease stress and anxiety and offer them a healthier recovery. Many studies found that laughter therapy may be a very beneficial treatment among cancer patients and is highly recommended.
There are many quirky facts about laughter you may not be aware of just yet.
Your brain can detect fake laughter. However, even fake laughter can help reduce stress.
Laughing can burn calories and has been found to be contagious. Your laugh can trigger laughter, or at least a few smiles, in others. Laughing is attractive and helps improve memory function. In addition, laughing can help with blood pressure, relax muscles, ease digestion and enhance breathing. The more air you can get flowing through your body, the better your body will react to stress.
The main antidote to stress is happiness. Let go of the things that are out of your control and work on the things you can control. Find ways to beat stress, either through beneficial medications, alternative therapies, or with good old fashioned sex. With so many positive treatments for stress, there is no reason you can’t reduce the negative impacts stress may be having in your body and brain right now.