The Stress Effect & Your Health

The Stress Effect & Your Health

Written by Zella Pavlov MA, RD/LD & Katy Craner

Stress is a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension. Over time, a myriad of physiological changes triggered by the stress response can accumulate and compromise your health, contributing to the development of major illnesses, such as heart disease, depression and obesity.

Being mindful of the potential impact of stress helps to create a better understanding of the connection between our lifestyle and health.  

5 Effective Stress Relief Strategies

  1. Identify positive coping mechanisms when facing stress triggers. Plan ahead to help mitigate these stress triggers. (i.e. leaving the house earlier than normal to manage stress of traffic or worry of being late)
  2. Set effective life & health goals for achieving desired change. When making goals, make them S.M.A.R.T. - specific, measurable, achievable, relevant & time-bound!
  3. Develop positive thoughts and inner dialogue: Replace your negative self talk with positive affirmations. Practice daily gratitude.
  4. Use relaxation techniques to help manage stress. This can include progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, and massages.
  5. Take time to breathe! Abdominal Deep Breathing is very helpful  and you can do this anywhere. Follow these 5 steps for immediate relaxation: 1) Sit in a comfortable position with your hands in your lap. Keep your feet on the floor or lie down. 2) Close your eyes. 3) Imagine yourself in a relaxing place such as the beach, a beautiful field of grass, or anywhere that gives you a peaceful feeling. 4) Slowly take deep breaths in and out. 5) Do this for 5 to 10 minutes in one session.

Yoga Poses for Stress Management

Try the following yoga poses to wind down at the end of a long day: 

  • Rolls: Eyes, Shoulders, Hips, Knees, Wrists, Ankles, Spine, etc.
  • Standing Side Bends
  • Rag Doll Pose
  • Cat/Cow
  • Child's Pose
  • Pigeon Pose or Figure Four
  • Supported Bridge
  • Supported Fish
  • Supine Twist
  • Savasana 

We hope that these tips help you to replace some of your life stress with peace and rest. Remember, it’s worth setting aside some de-stressing time for your health’s sake! 

Edited by Amy Will and Berenice Zubiate
Image: Senita Community Member, Katy Craner 
Sources: Self-Sourced
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