61 Ways To Beat Stress
August 10, 2020
By C.F. Brown
The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.
-- William James
It’s an election year, it’s a pandemic, it’s a social justice movement, it’s job uncertainty and record unemployment, climate change is happening, and you are on Facebook because you can’t go to the usual sports event as a fan or run in a race or even work out at your local gym.
And that’s when you see it: That cousin or college friend just posted the worst thing you’ve ever seen in your life, and your heart tells you to just scroll down or step away, but your head tells you to leave a comment bomb to say it like it is. Then you feel worse than ever. It’s a sign of the times in 2020, but it has the same adverse effect you know all too well: STRESS!
I have heard a billion tips in my lifetime on how to handle stress. The word started growing common in the 1980s, and once in the 1990s I hired a “stress coach” to come and speak to my team at a staff meeting, giving all kinds of tips and handing out “stress balls” to squeeze as he spoke. Well, here we are a few decades later, and it’s just a different kind of stress.
How The Stress Response Hurts Us
“As we age, our immune systems are less efficient, and adding stress to that can lead to disease progression or the onset of disease,” said Dr. Ann Webster, a health psychologist at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. But how does “stress” actually have negative impact on your own anatomy? According to Harvard Medical School, this is how the stress response works:
Stressful situations trigger a physical reaction known as the stress response. The brain relays warnings to the muscles, which tighten, and to the adrenal glands, which release stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones help your body prepare to fight or flee to safety: your heart pounds, blood pressure rises, and more of your blood is sent to your brain and muscles; your breath quickens to get more oxygen into your blood; and your body releases sugars and fats into the blood for energy. In the short term, the stress response can help you navigate a difficult situation. But chronic stress can lead to physical damage.
Dr. Webster said stress raises your blood sugar level, and that can worse diabetes. It can cause insomnia and high blood pressure. “It can also make people become anxious, worried, depressed, or frustrated," she said. Over time, it sort of takes on a life of its own. Chronic stress increases the risk of heart disease, heartburn and other health problems.
So ignoring the subject is not really viable. You can add years to your life by just paying attention to all these people who have tips to beat stress. And we mean a lot of people. Here are 61 tips, either learned on my own or by listening to experts. Feel free to share yours in the comments, and as with any such advice, consult your doctor to be on the same page.
61 Ways To Beat Stress
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