Stress is good and bad. When humans were hunter-gatherers, stress provided that extra bit of energy to avoid being the hunted. The stress reaction is built into our bodies. Stress is not the real problem. It is how we react to the stress that is the problem. Left unchecked, stress can quickly make you look older.
Stress causes cortisol to be created. Cortisol mobilizes energy, improves fatigue, increases our appetite for sugar and slows down our metabolism. Cortisol can affect our blood glucose levels, blood pressure, immune system and our central nervous system. It has widespread effects on the body.
The negative impact on the body from stress can be seen in accelerated aging, increasing abdominal fat, elevating blood pressure, disrupting sleep, decreasing bone density, dampening the thyroid function and impairing our cognitive ability.
There are several easy stress reduction techniques that can be used to counter the onset of stress. First, don’t allow a person or event to control your emotions. Remove yourself from the person or event causing the stress. If you can’t (boss, co-worker, spouse, child, job, etc.) take a deep breath and let it out slowly – several times.
I also recommend that before taking that deep breath to simply smile. You can’t have a positive and negative thought in your mind at the same time. Our face is a movie screen to the outside world showing our emotions. If you allow the stress to control your emotions, your face will be one of the first places that stress is displayed.
Forcing a smile disrupts the negative thought flow from the brain and replaces it with a positive stimulus from the face. The brain doesn’t know what to do, so it stops doing what it was doing. You counter the initial emotion brought on by the stressor. There are many stress reduction techniques and you should master several to keep stress at bay.