Handling stress is vital to your health. Again, let me stress, managing your stress levels is curial to your health (get the pun?!). I will be the first to admit that I can be easily overwhelmed, especially at school or work. Stress will be a recurring topic on the blog. Not all stress-relievers work for everyone, so the more you try, the more likely you’ll be able to find one that works for you.
What happens to your body under stress? Evolutionarily speaking, stress is good in limited amounts. We have the fight or flight response to help protect us in dangerous situations. The Mayo Clinic gives a great overview of your body’s natural stress response. Basically, when your brain recognizes a threat, signals are sent to your adrenal glands to tell them, “hey, pump some adrenaline and cortisol through the system, we’re taking this baby into overdrive!” These hormones increase heart rate, blood pressure, energy, blood glucose levels, and more. It also tells the body to slow down process that aren’t essential to the immediate threat – think immune system, digestive system, reproductive system, etc. This creates the ideal situation for your body to neutralize or address the immediate treat it recognized, all energy is put into surviving that situation. Easy to see how too much of this heightened acuity can be exhaustive, right?
Stress is something that is ageless and can affect individuals from every background and culture. The American Psychological Association notes that extreme stress can negatively affect your immune, cardiovascular, neuroendocrine, and central nervous systems resulting in anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain, high blood pressure, and more. Also, a study found a correlation between high cortisol levels (a stress hormone), obesity, and poor cognitive function, here, meaning that those in the study with a higher percentage of body fat had decreased cognitive resilience to real-world acute stress. AKA those people had more trouble using their brain than individuals with lower body fat percentage. There may be many reasons for this, not a direct cause and effect link; however, it should serve as motivation to maintain a healthy body fat percentage for those that are susceptible to high stress.
Recently, I’ve been struggling to “turn my mind” off at night, which more often than not leads to discomfort throughout the night, and most likely followed by over-sleeping in the morning. My day starts off wacky with the late start on no sleep. My favorite night time stress reliever is a good old fashioned bubble bath. Ingredients for a perfect bubble bath include: 1. Bubbles 2. Epsom salt and 3. A Candle. Lavender happens to be my favorite scent and very calming, a nice bonus for a night-time bath. Epsom salt has a laundry list of benefits including muscle pain relief. Read more about the benefits here. I recently discovered WaxApothecary candles, and they’re to die for.
The candle pictured below is their French lavender scent.
French Lavender WaxApothecary
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