Everybody needs a break every once in a while. According to medical research, your health could literally depend on it. Stress is far from being only in your head: it can be the root of physical symptoms like gastrointestinal pain and migraines. According to WebMD, chronic stress can put you at a higher risk for heart disease, Alzheimer’s, asthma, and obesity.
Relaxation really is the best medicine for taking care of stress. You can do it at home by relaxing with your favorite book. You can take a leisurely walk in your neighborhood or go on a light hike down a nature trail. If you really want to take a load off, you could even soak in a hot tub, go in for a massage, or make a date for a day at the spa. Below are just a few examples of how regular relaxation sessions can benefit your health.
A Healthy Heart
Stress causes the heart to beat faster, raising blood pressure and levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the bloodstream. Research suggests that chronic stress may be linked to a higher risk for heart disease. Extreme levels of stress can cause a rush of adrenaline in the blood that can trigger fatal heart attacks.
A Stronger Immune System
Believe it or not, taking a bit of time off to relax can help prevent you from catching a cold or the flu. More than 30 years of study have shown that stress dampens the immune system, making it more difficult for the body to fight off disease.
Improved Memory And Concentration
Research at the University of Maryland Medical Center suggests that stress can negatively affect short-term memory and concentration. It can also interfere with the ability to handle complex tasks and social interactions. Chronic stress may even permanently shrink the hippocampus, the part of the brain where memories are made and stored.
A small amount of stress can motivate us to finish a task at hand. However, long-term stress is mentally and physically exhausting and can interfere with our daily lives. Stress causes the body to release adrenaline into the blood stream; over time, this can cause the adrenal glands to weaken and produce less of the hormone, which leads to hypoadrenia, also known as adrenal fatigue. This can cause difficulty getting up in the morning, tiredness, and difficulty finishing tasks. Relaxation gives your adrenal glands a break, allowing them to kick in when you need energy the most.
Clear, Healthy Skin
That’s right: stress can affect the health of your skin. Stress can worsen skin conditions like acne, psoriasis, and eczema. Stress causes your body to produce hormones like cortisol, which cause glands in your skin to produce oil that clogs up your pores, leaving your skin more prone to infection.
Less Tension And Chronic Pain
If you’ve been feeling a lot of aches and pains lately, stress could be the culprit. Stress causes your body to produce hormones that make your muscles feel tense. Stress can make the trapezius muscle that extends over your back and shoulders seize up, which can pull on the muscles that stretch over your head, causing painful tension headaches. Stress may also make you grind your jaw, which can not only make your jaw ache but damage your teeth as well.
Massage therapy and hydrotherapy may just be the best and quickest solutions to pain related to stress. A massage specialist can loosen up muscle tension in your back and shoulders, relieving pain. Hydrotherapy works by using hot and cold water to reduce inflammation and relax muscle tension. Some more benefits of hydrotherapy include better digestion, improved blood flow, and increased endorphin levels, which further works to relieve stress.
Chronic stress can cause long-term harm to your health, so it’s important to keep your stress levels under check. If you keep your stress at manageable levels, your health will benefit greatly and you’ll look and feel better. So, make sure to take time off every once in a while to relax and give your mind and body a break. Your body will thank you for it.