Thrive In Stress
According to the Oneida Community Health Study, 2012:
- Oneida reports twenty-six percent (26%) anxiety disorders and thirty percent (30%) depression disorders which is two-times the rate compared to the state of twelve (12%) and sixteen (16%) percent anxiety and depression.
- 39% of respondents have felt down, depressed or hopeless in the past 2 weeks.
How to Reduce Stress
Laughter releases endorphins that improve mood and decreases levels of the stress causing hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Laughing tricks your nervous system into thinking your happy.
Everyone knows that stress can cause you to lose sleep. And lack of sleep is also a key cause of stress. This is a vicious cycle that causes both the brain and the body to get out of alignment and only gets worse over time. Make sure to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Turn off the TV and devices (phones, computers), dim the lights, and give yourself time to relax before going to bed. It is an effective stress reducer.
Spirituality connects you to the world, which in turn enables you to stop controlling things all by yourself. When you feel part of a greater whole, it’s easy to understand that you are not responsible for everything that happens in life.
Exercise doesn’t always mean power lifting at the gym or training to run a marathon. A short walk around the office or standing up to stretch during a break at work can offer immediate relief in a stressful situation. Getting the body moving releases endorphins and can instantly improve your mood.
Stress levels and a proper diet are closely related. When we are overwhelmed, we often forget to eat well. Instead we typically go for the sugar and fat loaded snack foods to help us feel better. Try to avoid sugary snacks and plan ahead. Fruits and vegetables are always a good choice. Fish that has high levels of omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce the symptoms of stress.
A large dose of caffeine causes a short-term spike in blood pressure. It may also cause the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis–the brain’s emotional center– to go into overdrive. Instead of reaching for coffee or energy drinks, try green tea. It has less than half the caffeine of coffee and contains healthy antioxidants and theanine, an amino acid that has a calming effect on the nervous system. Add some lemon to your tea for increased benefit.
When you’re feeling stressed, take a break to call a friend and talk about your problems. Good relationships with friends and loved ones are important to any healthy lifestyle, and they’re especially important when you’re under a lot of stress. A reassuring voice, even for a minute, can put everything in perspective.
Some common reasons for getting a massage are to relieve pain, reduce stress, and ease anxiety or depression. Massage therapy has been known to relax the nervous system by slowing heart rate and reducing blood pressure. Stress and pain hormones are decreased by massage, which reduces pain and enhances the immune function.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by a stressful situation, try taking a break and listening to relaxing music. Playing calm music has a positive effect on the brain and body, can lower blood pressure, and reduce cortisol, a hormone linked to stress.
Reiki is a complementary health approach in which practitioners place their hands lightly on or just above a person, with the goal of facilitating the person’s own healing response.
Financial stress can be just as damaging to one’s health as any other kind of stress. Check out the presentations about saving money & frugal living (Kim Wurst, Oneida CEC Teacher).