You wake up before dawn to prepare breakfast, pack your children lunch for school, and get ready for your long day ahead. Your morning was going great, until you hit traffic on the way to work. Suddenly, your blood pressure begins to increase, as you imagine the facial expression of your boss as you enter extremely late.
While temporal stress won’t do much harm, experiencing stress day in and day out will take a toll on your health before you know it. It’s highly recommended that you seek various methods in lightening your work load, or removing emotional stressors from your life for the sake of your physical and mental wellbeing.
While stress isn’t malevolent in and of itself, as it allows your body to protect itself or to perform, just like almost anything, eventually too much could start to get destructive. Forthrightly, it may sound absurd to blame it, but it’s a given fact that stress is one of the root causes of most deficiencies and health conditions you may experience. Extreme stress suppresses your white blood cell count, consequently weakens your immune system and your body’s ability to fight infections and detrimental foreign invaders.
This leads to an increased likelihood of you getting infections, the common cold or flu, or more serious intruders that could damage your health in the long-run. Whether it’s insomnia, weight gain, irritability, feeling fatigue, lack of sexual drive, unwarranted mood swings, excessive cravings, loss of appetite, or even more serious conditions such as heart conditions, stress may be the very seed that sprouted this plant to begin with!
Chronic stress takes a major adverse effect on your body’s overall well-being, as a poor maintained diet, lack of exercise, and deficiency of proper and good quality sleep do. While your body is designed to handle stress, chronic and ongoing stress is when issues start rolling in. Being in a state of fear causes your stress levels to immediately increase, as our bodies carry the “fight or flight” instinct. In this given state, adrenaline, glucose, and the main stress hormone, cortisol, are sent into your bloodstream. Your heart rate and blood pressure increase. Your digestion system, the functioning of your immune system, your reproduction and growth system, are all suppressed and put on hold. This state is supposedly our body’s normal reaction during a “flight” mode.
However, if you are under extreme stress daily, and your body is not taking a break from releasing hormones to balance itself out and reach equilibrium, you will regrettably begin to deal with health issues as your body is constantly in that mode. The health repercussions may not show up overnight, and they might not show up for a while. Chronic stress, however, has been proven and linked to heart failure, weight gain and obesity, inflammation in the joints and other organs, digestive health issues, diabetes, mental health issues, and cancer. It’s disturbing to even imagine something that you may think is so irrelevant, can, in fact, be so detrimental to your health. With that being said, take these steps in reducing your stress, and preventing health consequences down the line.
Decreasing, if not eliminating, sugar and sweeteners from your diet
Taking Epsom salt baths (search for one with lavender essential oil for a plus)
Decreasing your consumption of caffeinated beverages (coffee, tea, etc.)
Exercising, daily if possible
Getting enough hours of sleep at night
Taking a power nap during the day (preferably during the afternoon)
Sitting in nature, at the lake or beach, or taking a calm walk outdoors
Using essential oils such as lavender or peppermint
Decreasing the amount of processed food from your overall diet
Drinking non-caffeinated herbal teas: chamomile, peppermint, sage, ginger, or rosemary
Taking a break from your electronical devices
Organize your time; utilize the barakah (blessings) of the morning hours
Noor H. Salem is an author, speaker, and Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, from Michigan. Noor works with clients in better understanding their bodies and healing with natural foods through her wellness practice, Holistic Noortrition. She presents various workshops, school lectures, group coaching classes, and community lectures on the topic of holistic health. Noor recently published her book, SUNNAH SUPERFOODS, a culmination of life-changing recipes and remedies, with a foreword by Dr. Waleed Basyouni. Her book consists of prophetic hadith, modern research, and delicious recipes, and is in the process of being translated into other language.