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Chronic Stress Linked to Mood and Anxiety Disorders Later in Life
There is a good chance that you are under some type of stressors right now. They come in many forms – unreasonable deadlines at work, relationship troubles and money worries to name a few. If this rings true with you, do not feel alone. More than half of all Americans are concerned with the level of stress in their daily lives.
While stress is a natural part of life, it becomes more dangerous when experienced all the time. In addition to elevated blood pressure and the slew of other well-known side effects, researchers have discovered that chronic stress can actually change the makeup of your brain.
Your brain is made up of grey matter and white matter. When chronic stress is experienced, the brain produces more white matter than normal, the balance is disrupted and cell communication changes.
What does this mean for you? While the brain is still a mystery in some respects, scientists do know that this disruption in balance makes people more prone to developing other mental health problems later in life. This may take form in anxiety disorders or mood disorders.
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In a dog-eat-dog world, being completely free of stress is a tall order. However, there are simple things you can do reduce it, especially when applied over the long term.
1. Get physically active. After a workout, endorphins are released that have been scientifically proven to elevate your mood and help you deal with stress.
2. Get enough sleep. Your mind and body will be better prepared to handle the challenges of the day if they are rested.
3. Avoid sweets. Though you might be tempted to go for the chocolate, don’t. It’ll cause your blood sugar to drop later, which can lead you to be more anxious and irritable – a recipe for disaster when you are stressed.
4. Meditate. Whether you take a yoga class or lay on the couch with your eyes closed for a few minutes a day, research has found that silencing your brain can be very positive for your well-being.
5. Keep a journal. Writing about your thoughts and worries can help to manage stress-related symptoms.
6. Take deep breaths. Making yourself slow down and breath in deep can lower cortisol levels, which can in turn lower stress and anxiety.
7. Play or listen to music. It can actually help to trigger biochemical stress reducers.
8. Pay attention to right now. Instead of worrying about what’s going on the dinner table later, take in your surroundings in this moment to help reduce tension.
9. Laugh. Watch a funny movie or read something that makes you laugh. This can reduce your cortisol levels and release endorphins.
10. Get a hug. Something about the physical contact of a hug between two adults can actually make you feel less stressed.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.