Aside from a dozen of unread emails in your inbox, you’ve got a deadline that’s due at the end of the day and your kid has a last minute project due tomorrow. And oh wait, you’re actually running a 5K tomorrow!
There’s no arguing that short bouts of stress is good for you. For one, acute stress can help boost immunity. Some even thrive on tight deadlines and quick, intense fitness routines.
But it’s a different story when it comes to chronic stress — from being anxious all the time to financial troubles to staying in a toxic relationship. These types of stress are detrimental to your health and can potentially contribute to a host of serious diseases. It doesn’t help that Americans are more stressed than ever in contrast to previous years.
Why You Need to Relax Right Now
Many would argue that the idea of stress reduction and relaxation are simply cliches these days. In this age of smartphones and social media, you are likely to stand out if you’d rather relax than constantly check your newsfeed and email. For most of us, it’s actually harder to simply do nothing.
To help you understand how stress reduction and relaxation techniques are incredibly important and not merely overused pieces of advice, here’s a snapshot of the negative repercussions when chronic stress is left unchecked.
- Chronic stress is tied to higher incidence of heart disease and high blood pressure. For instance, employees who experience work-related stress have an increased risk of having their first coronary heart disease (CHD) event.
- While acute stress can boost immunity, frequent bouts of stress can dampen the immune system and possibly increase your susceptibility to infection such as the common colds. Similarly, collective evidence reveals that chronic stress plays a huge role in cancer growth and metastasis (spreading to other parts of the body).
In addition, stress has also been associated with obesity, insomnia, accelerated aging, reduced working memory, and weakening self-control.
You don’t have to book that much-needed getaway right now to reduce the amount of stress in your life. Start with tiny habits such as 15 minutes of stretching exercises, getting a massage, and guided meditation. The most important takeaway is to train yourself to be more self-aware that you’re already stressed out so you can find ways to de-stress, even for just a few minutes each day.
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