Stress & Your Health
Between harvest, the start of school, sports practices, and prepping for another unpredictable Montana winter, you may be feeling the heat of stress setting in. Although stress in life is normal and sometimes even healthy to get your blood pumping, too much stress can do serious damage to your body. The short-term effects include symptoms such as upset stomach, sleep problems, irritability, and overeating, some or all of which you may have experienced. The long-term effects, however, cause much more damage if stress becomes chronic and you don’t practice stress relief techniques. Long-term health effects of stress include high blood pressure, gastrointestinal problems, and an increased risk of developing diabetes or having a heart attack or stroke. Simply put, stress is serious!
There are many ways to decompress and deal with stress, both long term and short term. Emergency stress stoppers include counting to 10 before you speak, walking away from a stressful situation, taking a few deep breaths, or saying a quick prayer or practicing a brief meditation. On the long term, practice daily relaxation. Start an art project, take up yoga or tai chi, sew, knit or crochet, read a book or magazine, or have coffee with a friend.
Some additional ways to cope with or avoid stress are to keep a positive and realistic attitude, accepting that you cannot control certain things, but you can control how you respond. Manage time wisely and say no where you can. Try to eat a healthy diet, avoiding excess sugar and focusing on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats, all of which may protect you from some of the damages of stress.
Although some of these techniques are easier said than done, test them out and see what works for you. For more information, visit the Richland County Nutrition Coalition Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/1rcnc1 or the Pinterest page, http://www.pinterest.com/1rcnc1.