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Understanding Stress: Helpful Tips From Dr. Efrat LaMandre

Stress can feel like an unwanted guest in your body. But don’t worry, we’re here to show it the door. Dr. Efrat LaMandre shared some hopeful insights on understanding stress during her interview on Scripps News Atlanta, especially fitting as April marks National Stress Awareness Month. And if stress has been crashing on your couch lately, let’s find some ways together to send it packing.

Understanding Stress

Health problems are not only caused by physical problems but can also be due to stress. Dr. LaMandre explains that our fast-paced world is generating stress like never before, which is having a significant impact on our health. Stress triggers a chemical change in our bodies that can lead to a multitude of health problems, including elevated blood pressure, a weakened immune system, and expedited aging.

Physical Manifestation of Stress

Beyond the psychological discomfort, stress can also have very physical implications. Constant exposure to cortisol, the stress hormone, can make our bodies prioritize stress management over health and healing.

Managing Stress: Key Tips

Considering how detrimental stress can be, Dr. LaMandre shares some tips to help handle it:

Get Your Zzz’s

A solid night’s sleep is like a superhero for your body. It fights off stress and gets you ready for the next day. Aim for seven to nine hours. It’s tough when you’re anxious, but it’s worth it.

Move Your Body

Physical activity isn’t just gym workouts and marathons. It just means about 30 minutes a day of movement because when you move, you release endorphins. Endorphins are your feel-good hormones and they bring down the cortisol level. A walk, a dance — just move for 30 minutes a day. It helps your body release those feel-good vibes and dial down the stress.

Mindful Practices

Mindfulness isn’t only for meditation masters. It’s as simple as enjoying your meal or listening to a friend. These tiny mind vacations can reset your stress and help you relax.

Social Connections

Chatting with your favorite people can unleash a cascade of good chemicals and lower stress levels. So, call a friend or hug your pet. Social media doesn’t count!

Watch the Stimulants

And about that caffeine — you don’t have to quit it. Just ease up if you’re feeling jittery. It can fan the flames of anxiety rather than putting them out.

Techniques to Handle Stress Meltdowns

Take A Deep Breathe

Taking a deep breath can immediately induce a feeling of calmness. There’s a lot of science behind that deep breath — it has to do with the vagus nerve and certain chemicals are released — that in that moment, just brings down cortisol, releases some calming chemicals. You might need a few of those big breaths, but they’re game-changers.

Eating Right Helps Too

When we’re stressed, we often grab food that’s not doing us any favors. Good food sends your body a calm-down signal. Fast food? Not so much. It’s about good fuel for your body — vitamins, minerals, and the good stuff.

Think Twice About That Drink

Alcohol might seem like it’s helping you relax, but it’s a temporary fix. Initially, it might make you feel like it’s calming you since it has a sedative kind of response. And so it might feel calming for some people. They feel like, especially with social anxiety, it makes them feel better. But there is a price to pay after. Your body now has to detoxify the alcohol several hours and into the next day and that’s an extra burden for your body. This will reduce your resiliency and actually can worsen your anxiety the next day. So it feels like it’s helping, but the price is actually heavier.

Wrapping It Up

Stress is like throwing gasoline on the fire. It’s tough to ditch stress altogether, but managing it can help. Saving your energy for healing, not just for handling stress, can make all the difference.

And, you’re armed with the knowledge and a battle plan against stress. Just take it one step at a time, one deep breath at a time. Remember, even small changes can lead to big victories in your health journey. You’ve got this!

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