10 Reasons Why You Need To Avoid Stress And Take Control Of Your Happiness
Are you constantly under a lot of pressure? Are you getting enough sleep? Are you taking breaks to heal your mind, body, and spirit?
Stress can be overwhelming, and if not managed properly, it can be highly detrimental to your health. While some stress is unavoidable, it is best to avoid situations that may increase your emotional burden.
With careful planning and mindful practices, unhealthy romantic relationships, unhealthy work environments, and financial stresses are avoidable. That means ending relationships that no longer bring you joy, so if your work environment is toxic, start networking early for a better, healthier opportunity.
If money is tight, reach out to your local donation group on social media for any items you may need. Remember to save when possible—having money set aside for financial emergencies will save you many headaches and stressful moments.
Unfortunately, it is hard to avoid stress due to illness, the loss of a loved one, termination from a job, heartbreak, traumatic experiences like violence, theft, rape, natural disasters, or events involving drastic change like marriage, the birth of a child, or moving. In these situations, your long-term health is determined by how well you cope with the stress.
- Are you exercising regularly to release any tension build-up in the body?
- Are you taking breaks to meditate and find peace throughout your day?
- Are you allowing yourself to mourn and experience grief and sadness?
- Are you allowing yourself to forgive those who have wronged you?
- Are you practicing vulnerability and allowing new experiences to take you on unique journeys?
Well, what is life without several stressful moments? It’s true, and some people theoretically shine under pressure. But it’s the long-term effects of repeated stress on the body that wreak havoc on our Busy Queens. So let’s take a look at what stress does to your insides.
Anytime you encounter stress, your body enters “fight or flight” mode. This response is your body’s way of preparing for battle:
- your heart rate speeds up to deliver more blood throughout the body
- your bones break down to release calcium to help calm the body down to pre-stress levels
- many systems pause, including digestion, your immune system, and reproductive and growth hormone production
- your body sends more glucose to the brain for focus
- you will crave sugar and high-calorie foods
Our fight or flight response had a lot of value for our ancestors, as it helped keep them alive when encountering danger in the wild. But nowadays, our day-to-day lives tend to be a lot less dangerous since we don’t have to hunt for every meal. So instead, we now utilize this response when cramming before deadlines and overthinking situations.
We can do better. And we deserve better. The goal should be to spend the least amount of time in “fight or flight” mode because prolonged stress will wreak havoc on the body in more ways than one. Here are the ten reasons why you need to avoid stress and take control of your happiness.
1. Stress increases your risk of heart attack and stroke.
In a fight or flight situation, your blood pressure increases to provide additional oxygen and nutrients to your muscles. Long-term elevated blood pressure strains the elasticity of the arteries, damaging them. This damage makes the arteries more vulnerable to fat build-up that eventually restricts blood flow. Many vitamins, including magnesium, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D, and potassium, help lower blood pressure. Nourish now to avoid heart troubles later.
2. Stress can change the composition of your gut bacteria and interfere with digestion.
Our brains work closely with our gut, and you may have noticed you can simply think about something and gain a sudden appetite or loss thereof. Nervousness before an important event can cause digestion issues, and stress changes the contractions along the digestive tract that help you process food. Unfortunately, stress can also increase the harmful bacteria in your gut and reduce the good bacteria. The imbalance causes digestion disorders. Um, no, thank you.
3. Stress causes poor food cravings.
Why is it that after a rough day, we crave unhealthy food and drink? Our fight or flight response temporarily curbs your appetite, but one of the stress hormones, cortisol, metabolizes carbs and sugar while your body is in survival mode. In return, the body will start to crave calorie-dense food to replenish energy. Unfortunately, elevated cortisol levels can also lead to muscle loss. So if stress will have our Busy Queens gaining weight and losing muscle mass, it doesn’t belong in our lives.
4. Stress slows the rate of healing and increases the chance of illness.
When the body initially enters fight or flight mode, wound healing increases. However, chronic, long-term stress overworks the immune system causing it to malfunction. As a result, the body becomes more susceptible to infection and takes much longer to heal with an impaired immune system. With infectious diseases running wild, Busy Queens need robust immune systems and little stress.
5. Stress causes hair loss.
Scientists did a study with mice and found that their version of cortisol (corticosterone) reduces hair growth. On the other hand, mice without adrenal glands (the glands that release the hormone) had rapid hair growth and hair regeneration. They concluded that cortisol might extend the resting period for hair follicles and inhibit hair regrowth. Under stress, hair will shed more and take longer to grow back, resulting in a thinner appearance. If you are susceptible to hair loss for genetic reasons, stress will make it exponentially worse. Supplementing is a great way to combat shedding hair.
6. Stress causes sexual dysfunction.
Cortisol is once again responsible for trying to kill your biological blessings. Studies show that stress can negatively impact reproductive function and may play a role in reducing women’s response to genital arousal.
7. Stress causes acne.
Remember how we talked about stress and gut health? Your body communicates gut issues through your skin--it will trigger inflammation; think rashes, hives, or redness. Stress hormones also contribute to an overproduction of sebum which can cause acne. So when you take care of your health, your skin will reflect that.
8. Stress causes muscle tension and headaches.
During fight or flight, our muscles tense up as a response to a perceived threat. When muscles stay tense long term, circulation is restricted, eventually causing muscle spasms and pain. Affected areas often include the head, shoulders, neck, and jaw. Overthinking will give you a headache if you do not take time to calm your mind.
9. Stress causes difficulty concentrating and irritability.
Stress is the reason why it is essential to work smarter and not harder. Overworking yourself is counterproductive because if you are stressed, your brilliance is impaired. You’ll lack the ability to focus and have patience, and productivity will suffer. Furthermore, stress will make you angry and bitter, and Busy Queens deserve happiness and joy.
10. Stress causes fatigue.
Chronic stress can cause crippling fatigue. Stress may cause trouble sleeping, and that loss of sleep can cause mental and physical fatigue over time. Your body is constantly trying to achieve homeostasis or balance, and fatigue is your body’s way of telling you to slow down and go to bed to allow it to recover.
Now that you know the many ways stress can kill your joy let’s chat about ways to reduce stress and take control of your happiness. In fight or flight mode, your body is the opposite of relaxed. So to reduce the prevalence of stress, just try relaxing.
Your chosen relaxation technique is up to you, but you have options. Meditation helps calm the body and clear the mind. Taking a bath with Epsom salt is excellent for relaxing muscles and joints. Exercise is a great way to release tension in the body, especially if you spend hours at a desk throughout the day. Slow or low-intensity workouts are preferred here as high-intensity workouts and cardio may help release even more stress hormones. Try yoga, pilates, or simply walking.
Disconnect from social media and situations that may trigger more stress. And sleep heals all wounds. So make an effort to get 8-9 hours of sleep per day.
When your brain detects stress, it communicates with your whole body to prepare for battle. But if there is no battle, remind yourself that there is no need for your body to have the same response it would for actual life-threatening danger. Stay calm, take your vitamins, and remember to BREATHE. Don’t let stress consume you; focus on the positive things in your life, and be kind to yourself. You deserve it all!