Helping or Hurting?
When you feel threatened, your body releases cortisol, a hormone that causes stress to help protect you from danger. Unfortunately, too much cortisol can have negative effects on your mind and body.
What Causes Stress
Stress can be caused by many daily events, but major causes of stress often include difficulties at work, school, or in a relationship, financial problems, negative thoughts or the inability to accept or deal with uncertainty.
How Stress Affects You
If you’re a perfectionist or you are busy all the time, stress can actually make you underperform. This can have consequences in your career, but also in your daily relationships and your journey toward health and wellbeing.
Below you’ll find a list of symptoms associated with stress, though there are more symptoms you may experience.
Cognitive Symptoms Include:
- Memory problems
- Inability to concentrate
- Poor judgment
- Focusing on the negative
- Anxious or racing thoughts
- Constant worrying
Physical Symptoms Include:
- Aches and pains
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Nausea, dizziness
- Chest pain, rapid heart rate
- Loss of sex drive
- Frequent colds or flu
Stress and Sleep
Does stress keep you up at night? You might find your thoughts racing when you’re lying in bed, unable to calm your mind. When you’re under chronic stress, your body doesn’t know when you’re working and when you’re trying to relax.
Stress often leads to bad sleep, and sleep quality is one of the most important aspects related to productivity during the day. If you don’t sleep well at night, you won’t be your best self during the day. Learn to manage your stress and you’ll enjoy better sleep and better days, too.
Practical Tips for Stress Reduction
When stress starts to affect your daily life and frequently makes you feel overwhelmed, it’s time to start bringing balance to yourself.
Task & Time Management
Structuring your day is the start to a healthy relationship with stress. By deciding beforehand what you will get done that day and coming up with a set schedule, you’ll be more prepared for any changes that may come and you won’t overextend yourself.
Optimize your day by planning ahead
Make Time for Friends
Socializing releases oxytocin, a natural stress reliever, and laughter can relieve tension and boost your immune system. Include spending time with friends and family in your schedule, making sure you get to socialize and share your life with important others.
Elevate your day by including time for socialization and enjoyment.
Including little meditations throughout your day can help you focus on the tasks you have to complete. It’s a great way to recharge and give your mind and body a chance to relax. This can be a personalized aspect of your treatment as we discuss how and where to begin.
Upgrade your mental capacity by developing a practice of meditation.
Timing of Meals
Eating meals at specific times throughout the day has an effect on your sleep patterns. Eating a big meal late at night can make your body think it’s earlier than it truly is, and get in the way of restful sleep.
Making sure you eat your biggest meal around midday can help you regulate your circadian rhythm and metabolic functions. Generally, we recommend leaving a three-hour gap between your last meal and your bedtime.
Exercise and Diet
If you’re a busy executive, stress can easily stop you from taking care of yourself. Make sure you exercise regularly and eat nutritionally balanced meals.
Getting More Movement
Sitting at a computer all day isn’t healthy. It may not feel as though you’re hurting yourself, but it’s true: you are denying your body important chemicals that come from moving your body. Exercising doesn’t have to be three hours at the gym—a quick jog or yoga session can do so much toward bringing you the health you seek, and it will make you more productive during other moments of the day.
Nutrition and Hydration
Our diet and what we put in our bodies end up having immense effects in our mental and physical well-being. Make sure you eat meals consisting of whole-foods and that you stay hydrated. Although we eat several times a day, this should be a mindful moment, not a mindless one. If you’re having trouble knowing where to start, you may find my Seven Simple Steps to Improve Diet and Digestion a helpful resource!
We can help you develop healthy habits and show you nutritious meals you can easily prepare at home.
Here at Pacific Integrative Psychiatry, we view stress-reduction through a holistic lens. If you experience stress and want to improve your stress-management skills, call us to set up a consultation where we can talk about your needs in specific detail and create a path to reduce stress.
Take The First Step On Your
Perhaps you have questions you’d like to ask before you make a decision to become a patient. Our patient coordinator is standing by, happy to answer any questions you have to determine if Pacific Integrative Psychiatry is right for you.