Stress is something we cannot escape. As soon as one stressful situation disappears, another one seems to pop up. Workplace stress is almost unavoidable and can lead to anxiety, depression, headaches, and a miserable attitude. Anything that lowers your stress levels can also add years to your life. Stress triggers inflammation, inflammation causes damage, damage leads to disease, disease can cause death.
Lower stress, lower disease
Cortisol, AKA the "stress hormone," is a steroid produced by the adrenal glands on top of the kidneys. It is usually released in times of stress to maintain homeostasis in the body. However, chronic stress that causes sustained release of cortisol has serious, negative effects on health. Not only does it stress the cardiovascular system, it decreases immunity as well. High cortisol levels can contribute to type II diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, high blood pressure, and the loss of reproductive health, just to name a few. Cortisol is essential for human existence and a useful evolutionary adaptation to stressful situations (getting chased by a tiger). Unfortunately, humans are experiencing unnecessary stress more often due to everyday situations. Whether it is work, home, family, money, or travel, these "stressful" situations are slowly destroying your body.
Granted, you can't just remove all of the stress from your life, but there are many ways in which you can make situations less stressful and manageable. The cheapest and easiest method to implement immediately is a relaxation breathing technique. Sit comfortably in your chair, close your eyes and take a slow, deep breath through the nose lasting four seconds, filling your belly, hold for four seconds, let out slowly for four seconds, and retain the exhaled breath for four seconds before breathing in again. There are four stages to this breathing cycle (breath in, hold, breath out, retain), taking four seconds to complete each stage. Repeat the cycle five to ten times and return to normal breathing. This is a quick, simple method to lower stress and relax the body.
Other stress-lowering tips
Other stress relieving techniques are not as apparent and intentional as the breathing exercise, but have serious benefits to your health and stress-lowering qualities. Aside from yoga, massage, acupuncture, exercise, and vacations, a few more stress relieving techniques that can benefit your mind and body that are easy to implement include:
- Pets - Although most of us can't bring a pet to the workplace, interacting with an animal via petting, playing, or talking has well-studied health benefits such as lowered blood pressure and improved immunity
Earthing/Grounding - Easy and free, grounding allows the body to gain electrons from the earth to neutralize free radicals and oxidative stress; leading to a decrease in inflammation and better health. It's as easy as standing or sitting with bare skin exposed to grass, sand, dirt, or concrete for 20-plus minutes.
Meditation - A little more time consuming than the breathing technique, it starts out the same way, but focuses on clearing the clutter in your brain that flashes in and out of consciousness. By concentrating solely on the air going in and out of your lungs and blocking out any other thought, stress becomes non-existent with a profound sense of mental clarity.
Most Popular Slideshows
- Australia Bids Adieu to Adam Spencer's Mornings on ABC's "702 Breakfast" Show [PHOTOS]
- SEE PHOTOS! Eva Longoria Wears No Panties at Cannes 2013, Revealed in Embarrassing Wardrobe Malfunction [SLIDESHOW]
- Top 10 Hottest Celebrities with Shocking Weight Loss (And Find Out Their Secrets!) [PHOTOS]
- Demi Lovato Snapped Getting Flirty with The X-Factor Boss, Simon Cowell? [PHOTOS]