When the body senses a threat, hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline are released into the bloodstream. These hormones improve alertness, increase pulse, and tense muscles – and is better known as stress.
For a short period of time, this reaction can be good, as it allows the body to fight or flee away from whatever is causing this stressful reaction.
Today, we don’t necessarily face as many “life-threatening dangers,” but we still experience high amounts of stress. Feelings of stress and anxiety can help you meet a deadline or react to a particular situation, but we tend to carry stress for far longer than we should.
When we experience chronic stress, we put ourselves at risk for a variety of health issues. These stress-related conditions include:
●High blood pressure
●Depression and anxiety
●Skin problems such as acne or eczema
If you already have one of these conditions, chronic stress can worsen your symptoms.
November 4th is Stress Awareness Day and WellAge Senior Living, a senior lifestyle company in Colorado, would like to share ways you can reduce and manage your feelings of stress and anxiety, ultimately improving your overall health and wellness. Live Well by implementing these stress and anxiety management ideas into your daily routine.
Stress Management: Physical Practices
Take a Walk
Exercise is a great way to relieve feelings of stress and anxiety. When you are physically active, your body releases endorphins, the “feel-good” hormone, into your bloodstream, balancing out the excess amount of cortisol and adrenaline. Furthermore, spending time in nature has been shown to help reduce levels of cortisol in the bloodstream. Get the maximum stress reduction benefits by taking a walk through a local park or trail.
Deep breathing exercises can release tension in the body, allowing you to refocus your mind. By focusing on your breathing, you can calm your mind and redirect it off of what is causing you stress. Find a quiet place and take a few slow, deep breaths. You may be surprised by how you feel afterward.
Stress Management: Mental Practices
Much like deep breathing exercises, meditation helps you to turn your attention inward and re-center your mind. Through meditation, you can address your stressful thoughts and quiet them. To practice mindfulness meditation, sit quietly with your eyes closed and focus on your breathing and thoughts, working to stay present in the moment.
Write Down Schedules, Lists, and Feelings
A common cause of stress and anxiety is the unknown. To help combat feelings of not knowing if something needs to be done or if you need to be somewhere, create and follow a schedule. It may also help you to create daily to-do lists so you can physically see what you need to accomplish each day.
Beyond day-to-day stressors, feelings of stress and anxiety can be associated with more significant things like health or finances. Writing these concerns and feelings down can also be beneficial. Approach each item individually and ask yourself things like:
●Why is this a concern?
●What can I do to combat this concern? (For example, if you’re anxious about finances, maybe you can set aside more money each month into a savings account, or you can brainstorm ways to generate income.)
Stress Management: Lifestyle Changes
Declutter Your Living Space
It is challenging to have a clear and open mind when your living space is full of clutter. Your home is a direct reflection of your mind. When you live in a clean and open space, your mind can also be more open and clearer, with less stress and anxiety.
Prepare Yourself for the Next Day
This goes along with creating lists for yourself but takes it a step further. Each evening, lay out your outfit for the following day, prepare your coffee machine, and write the next day’s to-do list. By doing so, you can sleep without worrying about what you have to do the next day and will wake up in the morning with a clear idea of what your day should look like. You will feel more organized, less rushed, and, most importantly, less stressed.
One of the most important aspects of stress and anxiety management is identifying the source of your stress. When you know what is causing your stress, you are better equipped to find small solutions to reduce and manage it. Knowing how to manage your stress will benefit your overall health and wellness, one of our goals at WellAge Senior Living.
For more information about our approach to wellness or to learn about our senior living communities in Colorado, contact a member of our team.