Take care of yourself, girl!
I used to believe I had no stress in my life. I had very tight muscles in my shoulders and hardly ever felt relaxed, but I wasn't stressed. It took me a while to realize that I was tense because I was stressed out.
I had job stress (like everybody else), a commute, financial stresses, health stresses, so that when I became honest with myself. I realized that I was on stress-overload and I needed to make some changes, and fast.
That's the thing about stress — it can sneak up on you and do all kinds of damage without you catching on.
Recently, Time shared an infographic about stress. The first part is about how America handles stress:
In another article in Medical Daily, experts discuss how the human body is hardwired to react to stress, in order to protect itself from threats and aggressors. When the body thinks there's a threat, such as a barking dog on your morning walk to the subway, the hypothalamus (a small but important part of the brain) sets off an alarm system.
Hormones adrenaline (AKA acute stress response) and cortisol are then released into the blood stream. Adrenaline increases your heart rate and begins to use up energy supplies in the body, while cortisol increases sugar levels in the bloodstream at the same time, weakening the immune system.
What if this hormone battle was happening all the time in your body? Of course there'd be harmful effects.
The second part of the Time infographic explains what stress specifically does to our body.
Now is the time for self-care and managing the damaging effects of stress. Make a healthy diet and exercise a priority, and get enough sleep. Try adding in a walk daily, and practice breathing exercises to lower blood pressure and stimulate the nervous system, which helps calm the body and mind.
The best thing you can do is to take breaks. Do whatever you can to calm down, and relax. De-stressing is the key to feeling better and living longer.