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Less Stress for Better Health | Dr. Brian Alman

Less Stress for Better Health

Good health and stress reduction are intricately connected.

They either co-exist or don’t exist. There’s generally no in-between.

So, today, we’ll look at the relationship between these two and discuss how you can achieve the best of both.

But before we go further, how would you describe “good” health? Well, if you ask me, I would say it’s a combination of being in positive states of physical and mental health. The indications?

  • You’re generally in a good mood
  • You remain energetic for extended periods
  • You’re productive throughout your day
  • You get enough sleep at night
  • You’re satisfied with the direction of your life

So, all in all, while in good health, you’re better equipped to overcome the challenges of daily life. Of course, this is the ideal version of it, and getting there may not always be as easy as pie. But the state is easily achievable through consistent efforts.

Without that, you fall into stress. That you know. But if left unchecked and untreated, that can also lead to chronic stress. This type of stress can worsen your health further both at mental and physical levels.

Of course, these damages can also be caused by ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences). What’s that, is any sort of traumatic childhood incident that negatively affects your life.

So, with that cleared, how exactly is good health related to less stress? Let’s take a closer look.

Good Health Reduces Stress

To stay in good health, you practice physical activities like exercise and mental processes like meditation in balance. In addition to that, you also ensure your intake is a nice blend of fruits, veggies, carbs, and proteins. Plus, you complete your required sleep cycle on a daily basis. So, as a result of all this, your body enjoys several health benefits thanks to reduced levels of cortisol.

Furthermore, you feel more energetic and focused on the things you want to do throughout the day.

Less Stress Improves Physical Health

Both ACEs and chronic stress make your mind and body’s health worsen. Plus, when you’re stressed, you’re less focused and less productive. This leads to lower satisfaction in your life, further increasing your anxiety. In addition to that, you concentrate lesser on your physical health as well. This leads to even bigger issues for your body’s natural response to illnesses, by weakening your immune system. In the long run, that opens the doors for highly concerning diseases like obesity and heart problems.


The Lifestyle Changes You Can Make For Better Health

Did you know stress isn’t all about the pressures in your head?

That’s right. It also has a lot to do with the way you’re living your life.

Of course, there are other factors involved. But you can easily regain your focus on what matters by changing certain aspects of your lifestyle.

Will that be easy for you to do? It may not seem like it if you try implementing everything at once. If so, that would be normal. But what matters isn’t that you do everything, it’s that you remain consistent with your efforts even if it’s merely one or two things that you change.

Have a look at some of these ways below:

Minimize Online Screentime

Unfortunately, nowadays, it’s become quite a norm for people to spend tens of hours a day in front of digital screens. A lot of that has to do with smart mobile devices.

Since those make it easy for you to access all kinds of content, you don’t always realize how long you’ve already spent browsing, playing games, or socializing. On the one hand, that makes you feel satisfied with yourself, but on the other hand, it also keeps you wanting more.

So, at the end of the day, if you get addicted you consume more, and the cycle continues. This further leads to lower regular sleep and productivity. Hence, you experienced a higher level of stress. So, it’s crucial that you set a specific daily limit on your online consumption to stay in control and maintain better health.

Decrease Caffeine Intake

When you drink tea or coffee, you feel more focused on the work you need to do.

So, it seems like the formula is: More Caffeine = Better Living.

But the underlying problem here is that it’s the other way around. One of the biggest issues with caffeine in any form is that it increases cortisol in your body. Since that’s a stress hormone, the lifestyle changes you feel aren’t caused by gaining natural energy but by increasing your stress.

But it puts you under the illusion that you need it.

In fact, it can be so damaging that some people have a hard time staying in a good mood if they don’t get their daily intake. So, the best course of action is to keep your intake to a minimum and make practical attempts to reduce consumption.

One way you can do that is by replacing it with something healthier like water or an electrolyte-based drink.


Make Time For A Hobby

An apple a day keeps the doctor away… and a hobby you love makes your happiness stay.

When you indulge in something you find meaningful, it gives you satisfaction. In turn, you feel more content with your life, thereby reducing your stress. Plus, even if you’re not the best at it, you still get motivated to keep doing it. So, the process continues as a healthy cycle.

Now, it goes without saying that you shouldn’t overdo anything. But you have 24 hours each day. Dedicate some of it to a hobby. One problem I’ve seen people experience is not knowing what they’d like to do as a hobby.

If you’re also unsure, you can take a look at this comprehensive Hobby Finding Blog by the New York. It’s got extensive information on the if’s and how’s of hobby selection, hobby types, and ways you can integrate one into your work life.

Follow A To-Do List

The final change I suggest you make is to get organized. I understand that can be difficult, but it’s always worth it. This goes for both the short run and the longer scheme of things.

But it’s not much of doing something once and being done with it. You have to remain consistent. This is where the challenge lies. One of the ways to overcome this challenge is by creating and following to-do lists.

You can write down everything you need to do in a month, divide that into 4 weeks, and divide those further into the days of each week. This way, you know exactly what you need to do each day and you can update your tasks if something new comes up accordingly.

You can use software like Trello to make things for each day.


A Few More Tips For Stress-Free Health Benefits

With the information above, we’ve established that good health and less stress are directly proportional. So, it’s implied that to conquer one is to conquer both. So, let’s now take a look at some of the ways you can generate a positive cycle of stress reduction techniques for better health.

The following are a few tips for getting started:

  • Regular exercise can help boost your mood along with improving your physical health.
  • A plant and grain-based diet also reduce stress for better health.
  • Getting enough sleep is crucial for maintaining mental peace.
  • Techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, and yoga help you stay in the moment.
  • Taking breaks throughout the day also assists you with staying on top of every task.

There are of course many more ways to relieve stress. You can begin incorporating them into your life at your own pace for leading a stress-free 


The Harmful Stress Reduction Practices To Avoid

Ironically, one of the biggest mistakes we make in life as human beings is taking shortcuts.

To clarify, I don’t mean you shouldn’t take smart approaches to solving your problems. If you get more done in less time, that’s great. But unfortunately, most shortcuts are inefficient and complete the job only halfway.

Like all other aspects of life, this principle applies equally to stress reduction and management techniques. People often take on the path of temporary solutions to their stress.

While these methods do offer immediate relief, they can be seriously detrimental to your mental health

So, let’s take a look at what these are and why you should avoid these for better mental health.

Substance Abuse
Most kinds of addictive substances can give you a sort of instant mental satisfaction. So, people often turn to those as a method of quick stress relief. Now, the intake of these substances wouldn’t be a problem if done once. But herein lies the issue.

Once you begin, it becomes more and more difficult to go back. It always begins with “just one cigarette”, or “only one shot of alcohol”, but it nearly never ends there.

Hence, resulting in prolonged use. In many cases, addictions make it nearly impossible for a person to go back to normal. Unfortunately, this then leads to a number of inevitable health problems, deterring relationships, and work-life imbalance.

So, even if it feels like a magical reset button, I highly recommend that you don’t turn to drugs or alcohol when you face adversity. Get in touch with a healthcare professional if you need a hand with that.

Overeating or undereating
Extreme diet changes are another unhealthy way to deal with stress.

For optimal health benefits, your body needs a balanced intake of essential nutritional foods. But when you’re stressed, it’s possible you may start overeating as a coping mechanism. This is bad because if you don’t limit your consumption, you can gain a massive amount of weight.

Similarly, it’s possible may begin eating less than your daily caloric needs. When you do that, you tend to decrease your height-to-weight ratio to an unhealthy percentage.

In both cases, your stress only increases, which also heightens your risk for detrimental physical health problems.

So, always remember to stick to a normal diet, or as suggested by your doctor to remain in good health.

Ignoring the problem can work to put you at ease. But let’s face it. Running from the problem won’t make it go away. It’ll just delay it.

But when you do that, you actually magnify the problem itself. How? By giving yourself another reason to stress yourself out. Initially, you’d only be worried about resolving the issue. But now, even as you distract yourself in some way, you’d be stressed that the problem’s still there and you’ve got lesser time to do something about it.

Ultimately, that can lead to even bigger problems like actually missing deadlines, or intensifying resentments. So, at the end of the day, that’s not just counterproductive, but harmful to your self-interests and goals as well.

So, instead of avoiding the stressor altogether, here are a few other things you can try for stress reduction:

  • Try a breathing exercise to calm yourself down
  • Discuss the solution with a colleague or a friend
  • Look for a way to resolve the issue online
  • Divide the necessary task into parts to lessen your stress

These tricks should help you overcome your stress and tackle the problem with a more solid understanding of the solution.

Whether you’re a fan of superhero movies or not, you’ve probably at least once heard the Hulk’s catchphrase, “You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry”.

If you may not know, the Hulk is a fictional superhero from the Marvel franchise. When he says the line above, he does so because he often gets out of control when he’s in a state of anger.

Unfortunately, the principle applies to many people in real life as well. When you get angry, there’s a high chance that you act on impulse instead of logic. This can lead to unwarranted aggression. This can further take you towards verbal and sometimes physical disputes. The results of which you may regret later on.

So, when you feel stressed, understand that while being angry is okay, taking it out on others is a no-go area. Instead of that, you should try to calm yourself down. Try deep breaths, maybe take a sip of water, and change your environment. Doing so could help you recollect yourself and make sound decisions despite the hurdles you face.


Why Professional Help Is Important

One of the biggest mistakes people make in this day and age is looking up their symptoms and trying to implement lifestyle changes through the remedies they find online.

While there are various issues to doing that, there’s one thing in particular that stands out the most: The availability of inaccurate information in vast quantities.

So, what does that mean? It means you have all these websites and information portals that offer so much insight into medical health. Yet, a good proportion of that is based on wrong data.

To be fair, there are many reliable online sources of medical information as well. But there’s still the matter of understanding how each piece of information relates to your individual case in question. You may be able to get it right many times. But sometimes, you may misinterpret things and take the wrong steps during your attempt at improved health.

This issue solely on its own, makes it crucial to seek professional help in the case of any healthcare or medical inquiries. But it’s not the only reason to take advice from a trained expert.

So, let’s take a look at some other reasons down below:

The Availability Of Individualized Care

Each individual is unique, and their mental health concerns should be treated as such. As such, a mental health provider facilitates you in devising a betterment plan precisely according to your individual symptoms. So, you get the best health benefits from your treatment.

Insights From Certified Professionals

Mental health providers have specialized expertise in treating mental health concerns. Additionally, since they have access to the latest research, they can guarantee that you get the most effective care for your disease through proven treatment methodologies.

Safe Spaces With Zero Judgement

Mental health concerns can be difficult to discuss with others. But experts in mental health are trained to provide a supportive space for you to freely explore your thoughts. So, you can avail a safe space for healing if you may feel you don’t have anywhere else to properly express yourself.

Prevention Is Definitely Better

Both untreated mental health concerns and wrong treatment can lead to further complications. Whereas professionals can steer in the right direction to reduce the risk of further harm by offering the care you may need to efficiently manage your symptoms.


Seeking Professional Guidance for Mental Health Concerns

If you take anything from this piece, understand that taking positive lifestyle changes can help you decrease stress by a large margin.

And while implementing change can seem challenging, it’s quite impactful. You may even start seeing results within the first month if not the first two weeks.

But again, don’t take anything you read online as the final verdict on your healthcare. It’s always better to seek help from qualified people.

Professional health providers can offer personalized care and expertise to guide you toward your health goals, by ensuring you receive the most up-to-date and effective care.

You can also get in touch with me directly for individual stress management guidance, or browse my stress management courses to master stress control at your own pace.

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