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The negative impact of chronic stress

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Stress is not always bad, it was created as a way to protect us and survive, we talked about stress some weeks ago so to keep it short and simple when you are in a very stressful situation you may feel your muscles tense, and your heartbeat increases. Stress releases cortisol in the body, some people know cortisol as the stress hormone. When you are under stress your body prioritize safety so it shots down the immune system to conserve energy, blood pressure raises, insulin resistance increases, the digestive and immune system stop working, increase inflammation. When you are in a stressful situation your body uses all the energy it has to keep you safe.

All this is good in short term but when this becomes chronic it leads to severe health problems, physical and mental. The huge problem is that we live under stress every single day. From everyday traffic, to our teachers and classmates or boss and coworkers to doing stuff you don´t like your stress levels are high so your body is not interested on keeping you healthy, it´s interested on survival.

Chronic insulin resistance can lead to diabetes, problems with the digestive system lead to gut issues that are the cause of other bigger problems including your brain, increased and chronic inflammation increase the risk of chronic diseases, high blood pressure leads to heart diseases. Some of these responses can also have an impact on your brain and can lead to serious problems like Parkinson and Alzheimer.

So many health experts are talking about stress and how a huge percentage of doctor’s visits are caused by stress. Chronic stress is causing a lot of health issues. We only need to think about how stress affects a lot of systems, hormones and functions in our body so it´s not hard to realize that it is the cause of health problems.

Since chronic stress has an impact on almost all the systems and hormones on our body, we need to consider that this creates a negative cycle. When you are highly stressed or worried it is harder for you to fall asleep and you tend to wake up at night, this poor sleep also affects negatively all the hormones and systems on your body leading to so many health problems and you can see it right the next day, you feel tired, you lack energy, you skip exercise, it is harder to eat healthy foods.

When this happen, your body is out of balance, it´s out of sync so it´s not working and functioning properly. This is why you need to focus on the 5 principles of fitness and it is why we´re sharing everything we know so that you can develop healthy habits so that your body is in sync and in balance.

Avoiding chronic is stress is key but, it´s actually impossible for must of us so what you can do is use tools that help you reduce it. Mindful breathing and mindful meditation are great tools and we talked about them last week. Living in the present, not believing every thought that comes to your mind are also strategies you can develop to help you keep stress low. Most of us work on a job doing something we hate, something we don´t like and this is one of the causes of chronic stress so doing something you love every single day lowers stress and improves your mood. It can be as simple as singing your favorite song, or dancing, reading one chapter of your favorite book, playing an instrument, practicing a sport, drawing, etc.

Also reducing the time you spend on social media and watching news will lower stress throughout the day, there´s no need to watch news all day long or to watch them in the morning, after and at night. With just one time and no more than 5 minutes is all you need to be up to date. With social media you don´t need to check it every 5 minutes, you are not losing anything so schedule a time to check it and you don´t need more than 30 minutes.

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Pam

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