The Impact of Stress on Your Health
As we enter the holiday season, our schedules fill up with social events and holiday-related things to do. Hectic schedules lead to stressed out people. You may not realize it, but stress itself is detrimental to your health.
Chronic stress reduces brain function. Your cells cannot be stressed and grow and reproduce at the same time. Consistent stress leads to the death of neurons. This in turn reduces physical performance and mental sharpness. Cortisol, a stress hormone, damages brain cells limiting your ability to learn and remember.
Under long-term stress, adrenaline stops regulating spikes in blood pressure. These surges create rough spots and tears inside your blood vessels. Consequently, scars and sticky substances build up and clog your arteries. This is why people with chronic stress have an elevated risk of heart attack, stroke and dementia.
So, how do you manage stress? Say it with me: exercise! Cardiovascular exercise stimulates a protein that helps brain cells multiply. I've often said, the best place to be when you're stressed and over-programmed is the gym. However, our workouts seem to be the first thing removed from our schedules when we get busy. Eating healthy, getting eight hours of sleep, laughing, not smoking and refraining from alcohol are additional ways to reduce stress.
Enjoy this upcoming holiday season. Don't let the holidays rule you! In the end, it's your health that you sacrifice when you spread yourself thin.