When the human body is under any form of demand or threat, it responds by releasing a wave of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. A stressed body can affect the immune system, reduce sleep, slow the digestive track, raise blood pressure, cause neck & back pain and create muscle tension. So it is important to reduce stress and get the body out of this fight or flight mode so that it doesn't damage the body's overall state of health. Here are 5 easy methods anyone can do to reduce stress.
1. Take a minute to Meditate
Take a few minutes of the day to sit in a quiet space with eyes closed and clear the mind of everything. Then focus the attention on solely breathing. Meditation has been scientifically backed to boost the immune system, decrease the feeling of pain, improve self-compassion, and reduce depression.
2. Wake up and Smell the Coffee
A study done in 2008 by international scientists reported that sniffing the hot rich smell of coffee in the morning can alter gene activity in the brain. Doing so may reduce the damage caused by stress and sleep deprivation. No drinking is required, though who can resist?
3. Go Outside and Laugh
According to a University of Maryland, there is a 30% more chance people laugh when they are in a social setting than when they are alone. Attending public cultural events positively impacts the body's internal hormone levels to make one feel relaxed and happy.
4. Endure in some Puppy Love
Good hormones such as serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin are released in the bodies of those who pet dogs for fifteen minutes and in return reduces the stress hormone cortisol. Studies have also shown that a few minutes of stroking a pet lowers blood pressure, eases loneliness, and helps overcome allergies in children.
5. Indulge in some Dark Chocolate
A study released in 2009 revealed that eating dark chocolate everyday can modify and normalize the systemic stress metabolic signatures in only two weeks. Other studies have also shown that chocolate helps fight heart disease and the chances if developing cancer.
Even being at low-levels of stress increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes. In some cases, acute stress can even cause a sudden death. Take care of the body and live a longer healthier life. Laugh at everything, pet all the dogs and eat some chocolate.
- Adriana Nohely, Wellness Consultant at Greeley Wellness Center