By Jeanelle Murphy, DO
Stress is part of life and the human body has a built in system to deal with it. When we are stressed our brain triggers our adrenal glands to produce cortisol and adrenaline which equips us to fight off an enemy, this is known as the “fight of flight” response. Too much cortisol and adrenaline can lead to anxiety, trouble sleeping, weight gain, trouble concentrating and even high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.
The best way to deal with stress is to keep our body and our mind as healthy as possible on a daily basis so when stressful times come, we can better tolerate the fight or flight response and have the physical energy and mental stamina to deal with the stressful situation. Eating well, exercising for at least 30 minutes a day, getting plenty of sleep so we feel well rested, taking at least 10 minutes a day to deep breathe or meditate, connecting with others, talking about and/or journaling our feelings, and doing things we enjoy all keep us healthy so our stress response is able to do it’s job without making us sick.
Because there is always something stressful going on in the world and we now have the technology to know about it, it’s best to take breaks from the news and social media since we aren’t meant to deal with stress all the time and doing so can burn out our system and cause mental and physical illness.
Smoking, drinking alcohol and using recreational drugs may seem to help with stress but it damages our body and mind and causes more problems so ultimately is not a good way of dealing with stress.