Keeping Chronic Stress at Bay

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Keeping Chronic Stress at Bay

Your body has a natural defense system in response to danger called the fight-or-flight response. When this response is constantly turned on by stress, you are in a state of chronic stress. Telling your body that it’s always in danger is not good for you and can negatively affect your immune system.

When you are in this state of chronic stress, your liver, which monitors the stress hormone cortisol and other corticoids, is bypassed, and stress hormones are allowed to run rampant through your body. Too many of these floating around in your body can impact your immune system. You might be familiar with getting sick after two or three extremely stressful weeks. This can be caused by unmitigated cortisol running through your body. You can also become resistant to adrenaline when too many corticoids are moving through your system, which can cause a stomach ulcer or chronic heartburn.

If the stress continues, it can wreak havoc on your body, so ridding yourself of the stress as soon as possible is ideal. Here are some ways to regain your calm when you just can’t seem to get rid of the stress:

1. Exercise. It’s so simple, right? Not always, especially if your busyness is causing the stress. Taking 30 minutes in the evening to go for a walk can release stress, especially if you have a partner to join you.

2. Sleep. Getting enough sleep is important for hormone balance. Try going to bed an hour earlier a few nights this week and see if you feel more refreshed.

3. Practice deep breathing. Getting more oxygen to your brain helps promote calm and focus and also can help improve your mood. Adding yoga and meditation to your routine can vastly improve your breathing patterns and bring a new kind of focus to your life.

4. Eat a healthy diet. This can be difficult during stressful periods when you tend to crave junk food. Try preparing a healthy meal at the beginning of the week so the leftovers are close at hand. Or make food with a partner to help you de-stress from your day.

5. If nothing else helps, remove yourself from the stressful situation. If it’s a job that is causing you immense stress, take a vacation as soon as possible or find a position that suits you better. If it’s a friend, take some time off from the relationship until you feel rejuvenated.

Living your life in a constant state of stress can have lasting effects on your body and your mind. If you need to speak with a counselor about your chronic stress, visit for more information.