Calm Down

calm down

Deep Breathing Does More That Just Calm You Down

Many people have heard that when you’re stressed out, you just need to take a deep breath. As absurd as it might sound, this actually does work, though it might take more than just a single breath.

If you can learn how to use deep breathing consistently, you’ll not only find that you’re reducing your levels of stress, but you might also be undoing some of the negative effects of stress that age you.

The reason deep breathing calms you down so much in the first place is that, for one, it lowers your heart rate. A high heart rate can often make you feel panicked and worried, whether there’s a reason for it or not.

By slowing things down, you trick your body to stop feeling as though it’s worried. It also gives you a second to clear your mind and only focus on one thing, instead of trying to focus on many things all at the same time.

There are a number of scientific reasons that deep breathing helps your body feel less stressed and actually helps undo the damage done by it. One reason is that it helps you detoxify your blood stream.

Normally, carbon dioxide is released from our blood through breathing, because it’s a biproduct that needs to be eliminated. If your breathing isn’t good enough, you can have it build up and result in negative effects all over your body.

Deep breathing helps your blood stream run more efficiently, and with better blood flow, you’ll see all kinds of benefits. For one, your muscles will be much healthier. If they’re not receiving proper blood flow, your muscles can be prone to soreness, injury, and even spasms or cramps.

This means that you’ll see things like a sore back or neck less often with deep breathing. Another benefit of deep breathing is that it helps combat cortisol levels. Cortisol is the stress hormone, the culprit that causes a great deal of uncomfortable side effects to accompany your stress.

By having something that will make cortisol less prevalent and less effective, you’re able to reduce the amount of aging damage done by being stressed out. Deep breathing isn’t anything complicated, it doesn’t require training or any special equipment.

It can be done anywhere at any time, meaning you can employ this to help you just about anywhere, very discreetly – no one will know you’re doing it. Once you get used to it, it’ll almost come naturally.

Develop a Support System for Stress as You Age

Stress is not something to be taken lightly. It can really have many negative effects on your life, and it’s definitely hard to deal with. If you’re not able to handle it effectively, you might end up succumbing to faster aging and other physical issues.

One of the best ways to make sure you’re able to handle your stress well is to make a support system that can help you as time goes on, ensuring that it never gets out of control.

A support system should be a group of people close to you that you know you can rely on. They should be there for you to calm you down, help you work through things, and become a better version of yourself.

You need to be able to be open and honest with them so that they can quickly help you make decisions on what to do in order to manage your stress. Some of the most common people you might pick for this job would be family members.

If you have a close relationship with your family, then you should be able to be open and honest with them about what’s stressing you out. Having known you for awhile, your family should be able to tell you what would work best in your situation and give good advice regarding what’s worked for you in the past and what you should do now.

Unfortunately, this might not always be the case. If you need alternatives, you should have plenty of others in your life who can form your support system. One often overlooked option is your boss.

If you’re on good terms with your boss, then you should be able to go to them for help, especially when it comes to work-related stress. If they do care for their employees, they should be able to help you, because they should be doing things in the best interests of those who work for them.

One important part of a support system is maintenance. Finding the right people and having them help you is great and all, but if you want that to last, you need to keep up with them.

This means first and foremost maintaining contact. If you’re not keeping up with them, they’ll assume you don’t need more help, and will likely stop being a part of that support team.

Additionally, you need to sometimes help them out with any issues they may be having. Friendship works two ways. And being able to help others with their issues sometimes gives you insight into your own.

Diffuse Stress By Learning How to Modify It

Stress doesn’t set your emotions on an up and down rollercoaster. It doesn’t just make you emotionally, physically or mentally tired. Stress steals from you. It takes your peace, it takes your focus, it can take your sleep – but worst of all, it can steal years off your life.

Some people have a little stress that’s ongoing, so they deal with it every day. Other people have big stress that they deal with – maybe not every day, but regularly. No matter what time frame stress follows, it’s all bad.

But by learning how to handle it, you can stop it from speeding up the aging process. You need to make small modifications to learn how to deal with, it rather than upending your entire life.

The problem begins because the reaction to the stressor is often automatic. You deal with stress the way you do out of habit. Sometimes this habit is ingrained from childhood, but other times, it’s a learned behavior that a person picked up in adulthood.

You can modify your stress by practicing the word no. Say no to overwhelm. Put boundaries in place that stop others from piling work or responsibilities on your shoulders.

Use these boundaries on yourself, too – and learn not to do more than you can physically or mentally handle. Don’t let stress grow. If you’re in the middle of a stressful situation and you have the freedom to walk away from it, then do so.

If you can avoid stress, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t. If you can’t, then take a mini meditation to stop and refocus. This can take your eyes off the problem and even give you a short break that can calm stress.

Remember that what you think about the stressor and the attitude that you have toward it can influence the stress for good or bad. Instead of dwelling on the stressor or the consequences of it, have the attitude that the stress isn’t going to last forever and focus your thoughts on something positive.

You can’t choose the stress, but you can choose the attitude. Take care of yourself physically. When you put your health on the backburner during stressful times, it only makes the stress worse.

So make sure that you stick with your exercise routine and if you don’t have one, start one. Exercise is a great way to reduce stress. Eat healthy during times of stress and get plenty of sleep.

This will help give you the strength you need to handle stress. Change your mindset. Learn to accept that some things can’t be changed. Find a way to relax and let go in spite of the stress.

Heart Disease Takes Root When You Don’t Get Stress Under Control

It’s often misunderstood just how serious stress can be. Many people tend to think of it as just a bit of discomfort and a lack of action. In reality, long term stress can lead to so many bad health conditions, so it really should be taken more seriously.

Stress ages you, and with that, you’re not just going to be seeing a thinning hairline and back pain. You might end up seeing heart disease as a result of stress. Among other things, one of the parts of your body that gets affected by stress is your bloodstream.

When you get stressed out, your blood pressure rises, along with your heart rate. This doesn’t just make you feel panicked – it can quickly lead to heart problems and even a heart attack if it’s not taken care of promptly.

High blood pressure isn’t the only risk you face when it comes to stress and heart disease. One thing your body does when it’s stressed out is release adrenaline, which is something meant to amp you up.

With short bursts of stress, this helps give you the energy you need to resolve the problem quickly. However, with long term stress, adrenaline will keep getting pumped through you, and your heart will suffer as a result.

Another way your heart is put at risk when you’re stressed out for awhile is through weight gain. When you get stressed out, you’ll experience some rapid weight gain, and over time, you might become overweight or even obese.

Being overweight is enough to put some serious strain on your heart, and it can lead to you having a heart attack, clogged arteries, and more. Another heart related issue that arises with stress is poor oxygen flow.

When you get stressed out, your breathing isn’t great, so you’re not going to have the best oxygen intake. When your blood pumps through your body, it’s supposed to get oxygen so that it can supply it to other muscles and body parts that need it. If you have lower oxygen levels, then your heart can become weak, leading to disease.

Keep in mind that these issues tend to come about with cases of long term stress. If you just have one bad day, you’re not likely going to develop heart problems, but if your stress goes unchecked for awhile, then it’s something that you need to look out for.

High, Continual Cortisol Levels Damage Your Memory as You Age

Cortisol often gets a bad reputation. It’s blamed for anything and everything that comes along with getting stressed out. That being said, it’s true in a way. When you’re stressed out non-stop, you continuously produce cortisol, which is not what it’s meant to be used for.

It’s meant to give you a boost for a short term stressful situation like the need to survive, but your body doesn’t know quite how to deal with longer term stressful situations. One thing that cortisol does in short bursts is ignore your need for long term memory in favor of short term memory.

In a brief situation, this is actually quite useful, but problems quickly arise when your body continues to produce it over a prolonged period of time. If you have high cortisol levels for awhile, you’re going to end up ignoring parts of your body that handle long term memory, leading them to become damaged from a lack of use.

Our memories rely on them being used repeatedly in order to remain functional and healthy. This is why things like flashcards help you study – because you’re having to constantly train that part of your brain to recall something over and over again.

With high cortisol levels, you’ll rarely be recalling anything from your long term memory, and with that, it’ll start to fall apart. By ignoring your long term memory, you’ll quickly start to forget things.

People you’ve met once or twice will start to become strangers, and you might find yourself reintroducing yourself to them at some point. You might forget how to do a certain activity that you used to enjoy, since you’ve fallen out of practice with it.

You will, however, be able to recall things from your recent memory quite well, though this may be to a fault. If you’re able to overanalyze everything that happened throughout your day, you might end up developing a form of anxiety.

If you’re constantly able to remember every little mistake, every slip up, and every moment that caused you to be anxious, you can develop some problems quickly. Memory loss is a very serious thing, and once you lose those memories, there’s no real way to get them back.

If you want to avoid being in an almost Alzheimer’s state early in life, then you need to get your stress and cortisol levels under control. Eliminating stress or managing it at healthy levels isn’t just about feeling good – it’s about protecting your quality of life and your physical and mental health.

High Levels of Ongoing Stress Contribute to Muscle Deterioration

Cortisol is a particularly bad hormone in high quantities. It leads to a ton of health problems, from expedited aging to a lack of sleep. Two of the often overlooked problems associated with high levels of cortisol are muscle deterioration and stunted muscle growth, both of which can be highly irritating and can pose a lot of problems moving forward.

If you’re trying to work out and you’re not seeing any muscle buildup, even after many months of working out, then you might be suffering from high levels of stress. When you have too much cortisol, it starts to block off the parts of your muscles that accept protein, which can cause a lot of issues.

Protein helps your muscles grow and keeps them healthy. When you lift weights, you’re basically making a bunch of tiny rips and tears in your muscles, which protein then goes and fills in.

By filling in and building upon these tears, your muscles not only grow, but also become stronger, which is why weightlifting does what it does. By blocking your ability to take in proteins, cortisol is leaving your muscles without any good means of repairing themselves.

One key problem associated with this is soreness. Without protein, any physical activity will leave you much more sore than you usually are, because your proteins aren’t able to do their jobs.

This is why many people with high levels of stress experience things like back pain on a regular basis. This also means that you won’t really be able to get stronger if you’re trying to work out.

You’ll just become sore, and won’t see any real progress. This can be incredibly frustrating and can lead to you getting even more stressed out, creating a bad cycle to get into.

To break the cycle, you need to first address what it is that’s stressing you out. By decreasing your stress, even just for a few days, you’re allowing your cortisol levels to drop back down to where they normally are.

This gives your body time to essentially reset, reverting back to its natural levels. You can accomplish this with a few days off at home or even a vacation. Really, as long as you’re getting rest and clearing your mind, you should be able to come back from a chronic form of stress and will see better results when you return to your routine of working out.

Ingrained Stress Managing Habits That May Have Been Aging You

Stress can cause emotional and mental upheaval. It can disrupt your everyday life and it can cause you to be unable to focus on what you need to take care of. But it can also cause health problems – including speeding up the aging process.

When you’re under stress, it just doesn’t feel good. This is why some people attempt to deal with stress by any means possible. And sometimes this includes delving into substance abuse.

It’s not like anyone deliberately decides to abuse substances in order to try and quell the stress. It starts out small, but gradually builds until the person must have these things in order to just get through the day.

One of the things that people turn to is alcohol. The ethanol in alcohol gets absorbed quickly and once it’s absorbed, it acts in the brain to prohibit certain signals from the brain’s neurotransmitters.

This is how alcohol dulls pain. It can dull both emotional as well as physical pain. But on top of that, it boosts the release of dopamine so that the person who drinks feels great as long as they’re drinking.

Alcohol is also a depressant, so eventually, the person drinking will need more alcohol as tolerance builds up in order to achieve the same effective pain numbing high they get.

Alcohol ages you by damaging the immune system as well as the brain. In the brain, it causes cell shrinkage and death that is linked to memory loss as well as dementia. It can cause mood disorders, blood vessel problems, fatty liver disease and insomnia, all of which age the body.

It also ages the body outwardly by causing the loss of collagen, which leads to wrinkles, fine lines and sagging skin. Some people turn to smoking in an attempt to deal with stress.

Smoking creates a false sense of relief from stress. The nicotine in cigarettes creates the relaxing effect, but this effect is due to stimulating the release of dopamine. So the smoker feels like the cigarette is helping.

But what’s actually going on is while smoking, the heart is beating faster, the blood pressure is rising and tension is flooding the body. A rise in both anxiety and stress is actually taking place, but the dopamine is masking that.

Smoking ages you faster by limiting the amount of oxygen in the body. It impacts the blood vessels, the heart and even your skin because it prevents your body from getting the nutrients it needs.

Using drugs is the way that some people self medicate to try to cope with stress. What they don’t realize is that using the drugs raises anxiety and stress levels. Drugs also make the brain more susceptible to the effects of stress. You’ll be more affected by stress than those who don’t abuse drugs.

Plus, drug use speeds up the aging process. You can see this in before and after photos of those who do drugs. Drug use triggers biological aging by causing cells to age, and bring about inflammation in the body. But it also causes brain shrinkage and brain function decline.

Is It Time to Seek Professional Help for Your Stress?

Dealing with stress is a long and meticulous process. It involves a lot of time and effort, and it can take so much out of you. If your efforts have been unsuccessful in trying to calm your stress, then it might be time to turn to someone more qualified.

Seeking out help from a therapist or a counselor might be exactly what you need to help rid yourself of excess stress for good. While some people think there’s a bit of a stigma attached to seeking out therapy, it’s actually quite common and very helpful.

There’s nothing embarrassing about seeking out a professional’s help, and if someone thinks poorly of your for it, then they’re not worth talking to. It’s a misconception that therapy is only for traumatic things.

It’s really there for anyone who wants or needs it, and that includes people who are stressed out. One major advantage of seeking out therapy is that they have methods of getting to the source of the problem that you might not have thought about before.

It’s so important to address the root of the problem when it comes to stress. If you don’t, it’ll become chronic, and you’ll be left getting stressed out frequently and aging a lot faster.

By giving you an opportunity to identify the problem and giving you the tools to attack it, therapy offers a much better long term solution than you might get by dealing with it yourself.

Therapy also allows you to vent your frustrations openly and receive support. A big part of stress is holding all of those emotions and complaints inside, and by being able to let those out, you’re going to feel a lot better.

Not only will you get to vent, but you’ll also be reinforced by positive words from your therapist. You’re almost guaranteed to leave each session feeling a lot better about yourself than you did before.

Not everyone can just deal with stress on their own. You might be comparing yourself to other people who don’t go to therapy and wonder why it is that you do need it. Simply put, everyone’s capacity for stress is different.

While others can take a lot of stress, you might not be able to. That doesn’t make you any lesser of a person – it just means that you need to deal with stress in a different way.