Chronic High Stress Levels Can Be a Silent Killer
Are high stress levels so common for you that you hardly notice anymore? It’s time to take inventory.
Are there times when you have trouble remembering someone’s name, even someone you have known for a long time?
Do you go into a room to do something, but once you get there you forget what you wanted in the first place?
Have you had difficulty remembering exactly how old you are?
Forgetting the little things, having temporary memory lapses, feeling confused or out of sorts can be irritating and embarrassing.
What’s Happening to Your Mind and Body?
When you live with high stress levels day in and day out, it can wreak havoc on your body and mind.
Your body increases the production of a hormone called cortisol in order to cope — it maintains homeostasis in your body. It also aids in the short-term memory functions in your brain and contributes to the fight or flight response caused by stress or fear.
But, if your body produces too much on a regular basis, it can cause memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and affect your ability to learn new things.
Do Something About It
You may be thinking, “Sure, that would be great, if only I could.”
It may seem like the stress you have is unavoidable and… it may very well be. Stress at work can seem impossible to alleviate. But, you can learn to manage it. If you don’t, it will continue to take its toll.
An important step is to find ways to relax and enjoy peaceful down times when you are not at work.
Change Things Up
Start by looking at your daily routine and incorporate practices that will clear your mind and relieve the pressure.
Moving your body is an excellent place to start. Exercise is a great stress combatant.
It produces endorphins, a feel-good chemical reaction in your brain that leads to a natural high, which relieves stress and produces a sense of well-being.
(BTW — a good belly laugh and chili peppers also stimulate endorphin production.)
Make Smart Choices
Finding ways to relax is critical; but, choose your relaxation techniques wisely. They should be good for your mind and body.
Drinks with friends may take the load off briefly, but in the long run, they worsen the effects of your stress.
Consider the following positive, healthy ways to relax:
- Daily meditation
- Treat yourself to a weekly massage
- Walk on the beach/hike in the mountains/drive in the country
- Practice yoga or tai-chi
- Have frequent heart-to-heart talks with a close friend
- Watch a good movie that makes you laugh out loud
- Learn to live in the moment and appreciate all the good in your life
- Develop an attitude of gratitude.
I challenge you to implement at least one new technique each month that will lower your stress levels to ensure long-lasting mental clarity.
I know you can do it!