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What to Do When Stress Plays Games with Our Health

By Sandy Schroeder

In a busy world, it is easy to ignore headaches, insomnia and less productivity, but stress may be the culprit.

The Mayo Clinic tells us stress can take its toll on the body, thoughts and actions. We cannot afford to ignore the impact of stress which can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

Looking closer, we can see what stress does to us. If you recognize the symptoms, it is time to let go of the stress.

How Stress Impacts Mood

Stress can change everything in your world.

  • Irritability or anger
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Confused feelings
  • Loss of motivation
  • Depression and sadness

How Stress Harms the Body

Look for these stress symptoms.

  • Sleeplessness
  • Headaches
  • Upset stomach
  • Exhaustion
  • Chest pain
  • Muscle tension and pain

How Stress Changes Behavior

Actions change when stress strikes.

  • Angry outbursts
  • Too much alcohol
  • Too little or too much food
  • Withdrawal from everyone
  • Smoking
  • No exercise

Steps to Take to Reduce Stress

It is time to take action when stress symptoms keep coming up. Mayo Clinic suggests these steps.

Reach Out to Friends and Family

It is tempting to hide, but reaching out can change everything. Talk with a friend or family member. Friends and family can help and often have useful suggestions. They have been there too.

Exercise Everyday

Exercise helps reduce tension, anxiety and sadness. Take an early morning walk. Do some stretches as you work. Walk with your kids after dinner. Find time for workouts and runs too.

Laugh a Little

Watch a funny movie with your kids or swap jokes with a friend. Laughter eases the body and the mind and lifts the spirit.

Take a Deep Breath

Deep breathing, yoga, tai chi or meditation may siphon off stress. When I go into my yoga class I may be tense and tired. When I leave I often feel like a load has been lifted.

Make Room for Little Pleasures

Play the guitar, or listen to jazz. Read a good book or bake your favorite banana loaf bread. Good things make everything seem better.

Avoid Stress Makers

Turn off the TV and get off the couch. Head outside to walk, bike or hike with your family. Go camping or boating and make room for small trips on the weekend. 

Rest Well and Eat Healthy

Cut back on caffeine, tobacco and alcohol as you load up on fresh fruits and veggies. Shut the electronics down and enjoy dinners with the family and evenings reading, talking and listening to music. 

If stress continues, you may want to see your doctor and a therapist to identify problems and find relief.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Caldwell, N.J.

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