Two women running in nature and smiling at each otherTwo women running in nature and smiling at each other

You could be under a lot of pressure. Some stress is good because it helps you to overcome challenges. But too much of any stress isn’t good for you physically or emotionally. Next time you’re feeling super-stressed, keep these things in mind.

How Your Body Responds to Stress

What causes stress varies from person to person. When something very stressful happens, your body leaps into action. Your brain triggers the release of stress hormones that travel to different parts of your body, putting it on high alert. Your breathing, heart rate and blood pressure increase. Your blood vessels constrict, directing more blood to your brain and muscles.

Stress and Your Health

When you experience too much stress, it pushes your body to the limit. Stress can also trigger unhealthy behaviours, such as eating comfort foods, not sleeping and not exercising, doing things (procrastination) and getting irritable/angry in relationships. Over time, it can lead to health problems from changes in sleep to digestive and heart related conditions.

Tips for Managing Stress

  • Exercise. Walking is an easy way to get regular exercise, but any type of regular physical activity will bust stress and lift your mood. Every bit helps!
  • Get enough sleep and eat a healthy diet. Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night so you have the energy to cope with stressful situations. Fuel your body with healthy foods.
  • Nurture close relationships. Healthy relationships with friends and family are good for your health.
  • Learn to say “no”. This can be hard, but saying no to a friend who asks you for a favour when you have a tight deadline can give you the breathing room you need.
  • Get help if you need it. If nothing helps and you can’t seem to get relief from stress, there’s no shame in talking to your doctor!

What’s the biggest cause of stress in your life?