Nutrition & Fitness
7 Ways Stress Relief Can Improve Your Physical Health
People often push their stress aside when they have too much going on. You may need to focus on other responsibilities, but scheduling time to release tension could help you improve your physical health. Read these specific ways stress affects your body to get motivated about positive lifestyle changes that minimize it.
1. Get More Sleep
Everyone deserves more nightly rest, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy to get. Your stress may trigger racing thoughts that keep you awake long after you turn off your lights. It’s a known insomnia trigger — especially if you have chronic high-stress levels.
Instead of accepting nights full of tossing and turning, chip away at your stress today. Implementing techniques like exercising to exhaust your muscles, taking a warm shower before bed or journaling those late-night thoughts could help you drift off to sleep earlier.
2. Absorb More Nutrients
If you’ve ever noticed your stomach feeling off when you’re stressed, you’re not alone. Rising stress irritates the lining of your digestive tract. In response, your body slows its digestive system to give you more energy to survive whatever’s threatening you.
Food moving slowly through your stomach means you get fewer nutrients from each meal. Find ways to relieve your stress and you’ll likely have less digestive discomfort. You’ll even absorb more nutrients to boost your cognition, have better circulation and improve your skeletal health.
3. Experience Fewer Headaches
Some people are more likely to have daily headaches than others. Their brains may be more susceptible to inflammation when stress lingers. Pressure is a known source of headaches and migraines, but you don’t have to live with them forever.
Stress relief could help you find more daily comfort than over-the-counter painkillers. Consider adjusting your daily schedule or dividing your responsibilities with others who can handle them. Changing how you do things could reduce stress enough to minimize or stop the headaches that make daily life more challenging.
Without headaches, you’ll also have increased stamina to improve your physical health with other lifestyle changes. If you’re not in pain, you can do things like exercise or stick with healthy food.
4. Have Lower Blood Sugar
When managing your blood sugar, your doctor may recommend avoiding foods with added sugars or high-carb meals. Both can cause blood sugar spikes, but stress is another factor that might be the primary influencer of your high blood sugar symptoms.
Research shows stress spikes adrenaline production, which increases blood glucose production to give you the energy to outrun danger — in this case, hypothetically. Although the blood sugar spike might be helpful in a life-or-death situation, it only makes you more at risk for developing diabetes if you live with long-term high stress.
If you’re also managing your blood sugar by reducing its amount in your diet, you may have excess sugar in your pantry. You can use it to create a sugar scrub that heals minor abrasions and reduces your stress with a nightly skincare routine. The simple effort merges both goals, making stress relief easier and life more enjoyable.
5. Improve Your Fertility
Fertility issues can affect anyone, regardless of your sex. Stress works the same way while potentially making fertility issues worse. Chronic stress reduces sperm count and causes oxidative stress that disrupts ovarian telomerase, which otherwise leads to fertile ovarian eggs.
Stress relief can improve your physical health by making it possible to achieve your fertility goals. Your doctor can help you build a routine that manages your stress through things like dietary changes and new habits that work alongside your family planning efforts.
6. Decrease Your Heart Disease Risk
Feeling stressed doesn’t only result in insomnia and an upset stomach — it also directly attacks your cells. When oxidative stress starts disrupting your body at the cellular level, it instigates apoptosis — the process of cell death. Your body can’t create new cells because old cells die too quickly.
Atherosclerosis is a condition where plaque builds along the walls of your arteries. When your cells can’t clear this plaque away because they’re dying too quickly, it grows into heart disease. Managing and keeping your stress low will improve your physical health by helping your cells thrive.
7. Strengthen Your Immune System
When you feel sick, you might take a vitamin supplement and get more rest to recover faster. Reducing your stress could make the periods between illnesses much longer. Anxiety-inducing situations trigger oxidative stress, which erodes the immune system through constant cellular inflammation. Simple lifestyle changes to keep your pressure low will strengthen your immune system without changing your dietary or supplemental intake.
Start Improving Your Physical Health
Take control of your physical health by making strategic changes to experience stress relief. You’ll improve your well-being by caring for your cells, immune system and more. Without as much stress in your life, you’ll feel better and do more of what you love.
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