Reducing Stress Is Key to Quality of Life

14 July, 2020
Reducing stress ensures a better quality of life. In this article, discover how stress influences you and how to deal with it.

Reducing stress can improve your quality of life. As you probably know, stress negatively affects your health. Stress can be the cause of many somatic and psychological diseases. Therefore, we could say that reducing it is a type of life insurance.

Many people wonder how they can reduce their stress levels. We know that, in general terms, stress negatively affects health. However, many people don’t know how to deal with it. Before we address this issue, let’s learn a few things about stress.

What’s stress?

If we were to ask ten people to define stress, we’d probably get ten different, but equally valid, answers. For one person, for example, stress is feeling like you’re in a container that’s about to explode. For another, stress is in the environment, as if it were an external stimulus.

As you can see, stress can have a thousand facets.

A stressed woman.

But in fact, stress is a combination of the different elements we mentioned above. We can define stress as the body’s non-specific response to any demand.

This response is both physiological and psychological. In addition, it’s composed of gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and glandular changes. The stress response is a complete biological activation, not just a simple nervous tension.

What are the effects of stress?

Imagine that you’re suffering from stress caused by unexpected changes in an important area of your life (a move, losing your job, the death of a loved one, etc.). The immediate changes that occur in your body are the following:

  • Increase in adrenaline levels.
  • Increase in heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Faster and shallower breathing.
  • A considerable increase in muscle tension.
  • An increase in your metabolic rate.
  • The immune system weakens.
  • Stomach and intestinal tone decrease.
  • An increase in muscular blood circulation.

As we all need a well-functioning immune system in order to live longer and better, it isn’t difficult to believe that 60 to 90 percent of all diseases are stress-related.

However, the human body is complex. That’s why it’s difficult to establish the exact role that stress plays in the disease process. However, we do know that people who are often stressed out get sick more often.

The effects of stress on the body are also influenced by a person’s attitude, personality type, and ways of dealing with it. This further complicates the issue. But let’s be clear about one thing: luck has no influence in “deciding” who gets sick from stress.

A stressed man.

Reducing stress will help you live longer

The stronger and healthier you are, the more stress you’ll be able to tolerate. To create this stress tolerance, it’s important for you to adopt healthy habits, such as:

  • Try to get regular, good quality sleep.
  • Exercise regularly. You don’t need to become an elite athlete. Walking 30 minutes a day is enough.
  • Follow a balanced diet. All nutrients are necessary. However, you should cut out ultra-processed foods and refined sugar from your diet. Also, decrease your intake of fats and caffeine.
  • If you think you drink too much alcohol, reduce your intake considerably.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Get regular medical check-ups.
  • Give yourself time to rest. Face it, you’re not Superman or Superwoman. We all need rest, especially if we’re very active.
  • Practice optimism. Nothing is as terrible as you think it is. In life, (almost) everything has a solution.

Putting these tips into practice will help you better tolerate stress and feel better at the same time.