Stress makes you sick. It increases the risk of everything from the common cold to cardiovascular disease. Basically, I’ve turned stress into the enemy. But I have changed my mind about stress. Let me start with the study that made me rethink my whole approach to stress. This study tracked 30,000 adults in the United States for eight years, and they started by asking people, “How much stress have you experienced in the last year?” They also asked, “Do you believe that stress is harmful for your health?” And then they used public death records to find out who died.
Some bad news first. People who experienced a lot of stress in the previous year had a 43 percent increased risk of dying. But that was only true for the people who also believed that stress is harmful for your health.
People who experienced a lot of stress but did not view stress as harmful were no more likely to die. In fact, they had the lowest risk of dying of anyone in the study, including people who had relatively little stress. Now the researchers estimated that over the eight years they were tracking deaths, 182,000 Americans died prematurely, not from stress, but from the belief that stress is bad for you. That is over 20,000 deaths a year. Now, if that estimate is correct, that would make believing stress is bad for you the 15th largest cause of death in the United States last year, killing more people than skin cancer, HIV/AIDS and homicide.
To understand this side of stress, we need to talk about a hormone, oxytocin, and I know oxytocin has already gotten as much hype as a hormone can get. It even has its own cute nickname, the cuddle hormone, because it’s released when you hug someone. But this is a very small part of what oxytocin is involved in. Oxytocin is a neuro-hormone. It fine-tunes your brain’s social instincts. It primes you to do things that strengthen close relationships. Oxytocin makes you crave physical contact with your friends and family. It enhances your empathy. It even makes you more willing to help and support the people you care about. Some people have even suggested we should snort oxytocin… to become more compassionate and caring. But here’s what most people don’t understand about oxytocin. It’s a stress hormone. Your pituitary gland pumps this stuff out as part of the stress response. It’s as much a part of your stress response as the adrenaline that makes your heart pound. And when oxytocin is released in the stress response, it is motivating you to seek support. Your biological stress response is nudging you to tell someone how you feel, instead of bottling it up.
Your stress response wants to make sure you notice when someone else in your life is struggling so that you can support each other. When life is difficult, your stress response wants you to be surrounded by people who care about you. Okay, so how is knowing this side of stress going to make you healthier? Well, oxytocin doesn’t only act on your brain. It also acts on your body, and one of its main roles in your body is to protect your cardiovascular system from the effects of stress. It’s a natural anti-inflammatory. It also helps your blood vessels stay relaxed during stress. But my favourite effect on the body is actually on the heart. Your heart has receptors for this hormone, and oxytocin helps heart cells regenerate and heal from any stress-induced damage. This stress hormone strengthens your heart. And the cool thing is that all of these physical benefits of oxytocin are enhanced by social contact and social support. So when you reach out to others under stress, either to seek support or to help someone else, you release more of this hormone, your stress response becomes healthier, and you actually recover faster from stress.
THE BEST WAY TO OVERCOME STRESS
- INDULGE INPHYSICAL ACTIVITYWhen you feel stressed and tense, go for a brisk walk in fresh air. Try to incorporate some physical activity into your daily routine on a regular basis, either before or after work, or at lunchtime. Regular physical activity will also improve the quality of your sleep.
- GET MORESLEEPA lack of sleep is a significant cause of stress. Because stress interrupt our sleep as thoughts keep whirling in our head stopping us from relaxing enough to fall asleep.
- TALK TO SOMEONEJust talking to someone or sharing thoughts will also reduce the stress level. So always share your feelings or thoughts to someone. Talking can work by either distracting you from your stressful thoughts or releasing some of the built-up tension by discussing it.
- TAKE CONTROLsometimes stress cause due to our own problems. So, learning how to find solutions will help you feel more control and lowering the stress level.
- MANAGE TIMEtime management is also an important thing. Most of the people suffer stress because they are not capable in time management. At times, we all feel overburdened by our ‘To Do’ list and this is a common cause of stress.
- LEARN TO SAY NOA common cause of stress is having too much to do and too little time in which to do it. And yet in this situation, many people will still agree to take on additional responsibility. Learning to say “No” to additional or unimportant requests will help to reduce your level of stress, and may also help you develop more self-confidence.
- Do things you love. Love to play drums? Cycling? Do it ! Go out !
- Give yourself a treat. Give yourself that chocolate cake . That lovely pudding. Indulge! And feel grateful for all the things that you have in life.
- Meditate. Really helpful if you do it! Yes we all read it everywhere but never ever do it. Its got so many so so many benefits that we still haven’t found all of them yet.
So , that was the end of the list , these methods were personally tested and we make sure that these methods will surely reduce your stress or at least make you recover from your pain .