Saying that we’re stressed out is an all too common thing, and that’s because most of the time, it’s true. Between our daily schedules, world events, and even the stress our body carries simply from aging, we’re putting our physical selves through a lot. We often don’t even realize it until a complete breakdown happens. Stress is a silent killer because it leads to everything from high blood pressure to heart disease. Not only does stress have the ability to affect our blood pressure and our hearts, but it can also be heavy on the mind, which in turn affects our behavior, thoughts, and feelings.

So how does all of this happen? What exactly is stress, and how does it manifest inside our bodies? Stress is our body’s defenses kicking into high gear. It is as if our bodies are in a constant state of fight or flight mode when stress is present, and when this happens, chemical hormones are released in our bodies that could cause the changes that bring on hypertension, diabetes, etc. Even if you’re not experiencing that adrenaline surge brought on by fear, which is often common in stressful situations, stress can still be present even when you think you’re relaxed. For example, if you’re stressing about a speech, you have to give a week down the road, or if you suffer from depression and anxiety, stress could still be present in your body without you even realizing it. Even turning on the TV and seeing something that triggers a negative emotion can bring about stress. 

The good news is, there are so many things you can do to combat stress. If you know what you’re stressed about, you can cater the stress relief to the type of stress you may be experiencing, but even if you don’t know, there are still several relaxation techniques you can employ to do the trick!

Five ways to de-stress:

  1. Turn off the TV and read a good book – Everything from the media to the types of television shows we watch affects our minds. It is a great stress reliever to turn off the television every once in a while.
  2. Log off from the Internet – Yes, I know it’s hard, but it’s necessary. So many of us are programmed to pick up our phones as soon as we roll over and open our eyes. Don’t do that because that first few minutes you spend scrolling through social media could determine your thought process for the rest of the day.
  3. Exercise regularly – I’ve said this a thousand times as the answer to a million different issues because exercise really is just that necessary.
  4. Eat well-balanced meals – You would be amazed at how certain foods affect our mood, particularly sugar.
  5. Focusing on more nutrient-dense foods – is key.
  6. Reduce your caffeine intake – I know in some circles, that’s unheard of, but we must remember that caffeine is a stimulant. Pay attention to how it affects you in times of stress and, if necessary, cut down on your caffeine intake or cut it out altogether, at least until you can alleviate the stress in your life or its cause.