How to live with stress

THE REST IS UP TO YOU Nap when you can because sleep, no matter how short, can help relieve stress

In a world that is overwhelmed with stress and anxiety, especially during this pandemic, rest can be elusive. Rest is vital, however, in pursuing a healthy mental health and overall wellness. But when is the best time to rest? It is when you feel like you do not have time to rest that you badly need one. It may seem counterproductive to take some time off to rest your mind and body. But in reality, you will be more focused and productive when your mind and body are well rested even just for a short period of time.

Long-term stress stimulates the hypothalamus, a small part of the brain located at the base, to release hormones that increase production of cortisol by the adrenal glands. Cortisol is a hormone that is pro-inflammatory in nature. Excess cortisol promotes fat storage in the belly area as well as increases blood glucose level.

On the other hand, short-term stress or the body’s fight-or-flight response to stress releases the hormone adrenaline. It makes the heart pump harder and noradrenaline is likewise released. It makes the arteries constrict. Constricted arteries prevent efficient blood flow and increase blood pressure. Therefore, stress can also cause hypertension.

Rest and relaxation may be underrated yet it must be given more value if you want to prevent getting all sorts of illnesses. After all, stress depresses the immune function. It also wreaks havoc with hormone production and regulation. Hormone balance is crucial in bodily processes.

The brain is not static. It is amazingly dynamic. It has the ability to change and adapt in terms of structure and function throughout an individual’s lifetime. This process is known as neuroplasticity. If you are feeling stuck and your brain isn’t functioning the way it should, a change of scenery and engaging in activities that you do not usually do will help your brain create new neural pathways. You will eventually find yourself getting more creative ideas and feeling better in facing challenges. This is also the reason traveling makes us smarter and more relaxed.

Long-term stress stimulates the hypothalamus, a small part of the brain located at the base, to release hormones that increase production of cortisol by the adrenal glands. Cortisol is a hormone that is pro-inflammatory in nature. Excess cortisol promotes fat storage in the belly area as well as increases blood glucose level.

Here are some ways on how to practice restful habits that will help you better cope with stress in order to live a healthier and happier life.  

Exercise helps in the production of mood stabilizing hormone, serotonin. This happy hormone also aids in the production of sleep hormone melatonin. Suffice to say, exercising will not only serve as your happy pill but also as a natural sleeping pill. Schedule a total of two-and-a-half hours of exercise per week. It can be any type of activity that you enjoy, from dancing to walking or playing sports.

Napping has health benefits, especially for those who cannot get adequate sleep at night. About 10 to 20 minutes of napping improves cognitive performance and mood while reducing stress levela, and 60 to 90 minutes of napping puts you in the REM or rapid eye movement phase of sleep. This stage creates new connections in the brain that are critical for problem solving and promoting feelings of happiness. In order to prevent disrupting your sleep cycle, napping must be done in the early afternoon between 1 to 3 pm.

Restorative activities for stress management have been backed up by science. Activities such as breathing techniques, guided imagery and visualization, meditation, journaling, mindfulness, prayer, gratitude journaling and reflection, hydrotherapy or water therapy, yoga, laughter therapy, music, massage, walking, body scan, sauna, and even coloring or painting have calming effects that improve the state of mind. It also has positive effects on the body by helping balance hormonal and immune functions.

The key to incorporating rest and relaxation in your daily life is to be intentional. Find time for pockets of pauses throughout the day and experience a happier and healthier life by learning how to transform your stress into something more fruitful.

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Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2021/10/12/rest-and-relaxation-are-underrated-but-much-needed/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rest-and-relaxation-are-underrated-but-much-needed)