Stress is a killer!
Acute stress our body is designed to cope with; stress kicks in, we run, act, cope with whatever situation is temporarily threatening us, then as the threat dissipates, all returns to normal and 'as you were' thank you very much.
The problem arises when stress levels are elevated for long periods of time, repeatedly. A stressful job, a difficult relationship, financial difficulties etc. etc. When stress hormones are in play for too long, they cause inflammation, acidity, weight gain, digestive problems, immune system failure and many other issues, if that were not enough!
It is SO important to find ways to reduce stress hormones, even if the stressor cannot be avoided for the foreseable.
Stress is known to have a devastating effect on digestion. If you're running from the old Sabre Tooth Tiger the last thing your body is concerned with is digesting your lunch! Over a period of time chronic stress causes gut inflammation and in doing so compromises immunity and makes us more susceptible to auto-immune disease.
There are many proven ways to reduce stress hormones, relax muscle tension and lower the risk of a heart attack.. take your pick;
Meditation; not always practical in the midst of a situation, but can certainly help you to react better the next time said situation arises. Also lovely to do on rising to help you prepare for the day ahead. Induces relaxed Alpha waves in the brain shown to heal.
Breathing; sounds obvious, but how many of us actually breath properly? I mean really filling and emptying our lungs? Increasing oxygen supply and exhaling carbon dioxide has profound effects on health. Take a look at this website about Conscious Connected Breathwork.
CCB is a combination of breathwork and meditation and is what started my road to recovery recently from stress related adrenal fatigue and life-long comfort eating issues. It's an amazingly powerful meditation which helps you to connect to your 'inner self' and make peace which allows for more relaxation and healing to take place, both physical and emotional.
Yoga; A gentle, breathing focused exercise which helps to unite body and soul whilst promoting a feeling of calm well being.
Exercise; providing it isn't high intensity, induces a relaxed state and reduces stress hormones, especially if taken outdoors in nature. Walks in woodland for example are known to induce a feeling of calm.
Sleep; SO important because if you're not sleeping well, you're stressed! So many factors interfere with a good night's sleep; caffeine, stress (Obvs), overeating late, noise, medication, alcohol, over stimulation, 'blue' light from gadgets, pain etc. It is very important to adopt measures in the evening to help you sleep. Essential oils are fantastic for inducing and maintaining restful sleep.
Essential Oils; Many essential oils contain cortisol lowering compounds such as Linalool; Lavender being the most well known ofcourse.
All the above will help ofcourse, add in mindfulness techniques and living in the moment, and you'll reduce the effects of stress and consequent risk of disease significantly.