And how to put a stop to it.
Every time you experience stress, pressure is put on the adrenal glands, which then pump adrenaline into your bloodstream. The thing is, constant stress can lead to problems like chronic fatigue, weight gain, weakened immunity, and a shorter lifespan. The good thing is that the majority of life's daily stresses can be reduced with proper awareness, practice, and discipline. See what little things you are doing every day that unintentionally stress your body out, and find out how you can relax in these moments.
- Running late to work: If you hit the snooze button every day, chances are you are scrambling to make up lost time. Hurrying through breakfast or skipping out on it altogether wreaks havoc on your digestive system and blood sugar levels. Rushing to get out the door can leave you frazzled, messy, and forgetful, especially when it comes to the important things like keys, your wallet, or umbrella.
How to relax: The night before, put out everything you need for the following day; keep the most important items near the front door. If you are consistently 15 minutes late every morning, set your alarm back the same amount of time. Make sure to sit down for breakfast, allowing yourself 30 minutes to eat. Try these recipes for make-ahead breakfasts.
- Stressful thinking: Sometimes our thoughts make the world a more stressful place than it is. What is actually a manageable list of tasks can seem unconquerable to the mind. When the noggin starts churning, it's hard to step back and look at the full picture.
How to relax: If you find yourself caught in a stressful thought, pay attention to your facial expressions and breathing. Relax your face, close your eyes, and take a long full inhale. Bring yourself back to reality and the present moment and create a plan, mapping out your steps and timeline for completion.
- A cluttered, messy house: Entering or waking up to a messy house can be exhausting because your mind is subconsciously stressed by the thought of cleaning and organizing it (hence, why we always procrastinate).
How to relax: Tidying will help calm you down because once your house is clean, you won't be tied to the mess or feel anxious about it. Rather than putting off your cleaning for weeks (maybe months), tackle it immediately. This will free you to exert energy on other tasks.
- Avoiding a workout: Sometimes work and other obligations make you pressed for time. The first thing that usually goes is your workout routine. Even a few days of avoiding the gym can make you feel guilty and stressed about not taking care of your body, and can lead to illness. When you are sick, your body shuts down to force you to pay attention to it.
How to relax: Find a time during your day that you can commit to 90 percent of the time ‹ even if that means squeezing a 20-minute workout session during your lunch break. People who exercise five times a week or more are 40 percent less likely to catch a cold.
- No bedtime regime: Often times, frazzled, stressed people try to decompress by drinking wine and sitting in front of the TV all night. Alcohol and technology actually interfere with your body's ability to rest and sleep soundly. You might also toss and turn for a few hours continuing to play over stresses you are currently facing.
How to relax: Get offline, turn off the TV, and take the time to decompress organically. Whether your routine includes a warm bath, an hour of reading, or journaling your feelings, spend at least 30 minutes actively prepping your body for sleep.