Chronic Stress

Chronic Stress

Nobody would argue that completely eliminating stress from life is possible. We live in a world of daily challenges and difficulties. Some level of stress is also necessary to help us meet deadlines or accomplish difficult tasks. However, it is high levels of daily chronic stress which is debilitating for the body. Chronic stress can affect our ability to learn and cause an increase in risk factors for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Chronic stress can also lessen our ability to fight infections. It can also contribute to premature aging and cause weight gain. Much of what has been studied thus far relates to the role of cortisol, a stress hormone, in relation to its effect on the body. Strategies for lowering cortisol is a centerpiece of stress management. Among these strategies are regular exercise (see section on movement), a healthy diet which is anti-inflammatory, spending time in nature, getting adequate sleep (see section on adequate rest), deep breathing.  Acupressure and acupuncture also promote relaxation.