Dr. Russell Greenfield: Hi! I am Dr. Russell Greenfield. Today I am going to discuss some tips for managing stress. You already know that when you are stressed you get impatient and irritable. But what you may not know is that chronic stress can affect every cell in your body in the harmful ways if it is not managed properly. Now not all stress is bad for us, a little pressure can help us meet deadlines, perform better athletically and rise to our best performance. It is how we deal with stress and how long it lingers that makes the difference.
A person under frequent or prolonged distress releases greater amounts of hormones like cortisol and neurochemicals like adrenaline that affect all the systems of the body. Chronic stress can upset digestion, cause headaches, depress the immune system, increase blood pressure, promote inflammation, increase pain and even age you a little faster.
It has been linked to cardiovascular disease, Diabetes, Osteoporosis, Alzheimer's disease, weight gain and depression. It can even rewire the circuitry of your brain. That is why stress management is such an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. New attitudes, relaxation techniques and good coping skills combined with a nutritious diet and regular exercise can improve your resistance to stress just like vaccines can improve your resistance to illness. There are so many ways to reduce stress, but you can definitely find a few that should work for you.
Some people like to practice yoga or Tai Chi. Others choose meditation or relaxation technique to practice regularly. Some dial down the stress through music, painting or other arts. Another person or even a pet who is a willing listener can help as well. And a short course of counseling that focuses on developing attitudes and the coping skills to diffuse stress maybe just the thing if you have got deep seeded beliefs that are getting in your way.
Laughter, exercise, massage therapy, they are all likewise effective stress management techniques. Relaxation is not a frivolous goal. Taking the time and energy to develop stress management skills is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and for your family.