Stress: Why it happens and how to better manage it 

Richmond Gbenga · Sep 16 2020

Stress is your body’s reaction to pressure from events such as; a sick kid, job loss, childbirth, marriage, divorce, etcetera. These events can be physical, mental or emotional. How to manage stress? Try to get 7 - 9 hours of sleep every night; eat more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein; and put in about 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise every week.

Stress is more and more a part of modern day life... 

As long as you have to commute to work everyday, work on projects, beat deadlines, and joggle between work and family, you’d experience stress. 

Contrary to popular belief, not all stress spring from negative occurrences. For instance, stress can come from planning a wedding, adjusting to the demands of a promotion, or even choosing a dream home from a long list of breathtaking options.

Stress can occur from just watching the news... 

Imagine watching a report of how a company had to lay-off half their staff to keep the organization afloat. The thought of what could happen to you if you were to lose your job right now [alone] can trigger stress.

In fact, according to the American Psychological Association’s (APA) 2017 Stress in America survey (1) of nearly 3,500 adults in the United States, 56 percent of people say that following the news causes them stress.

There is acute and chronic stress

Acute stress is when you feel stressed only for a short period of time. This type of stress is normal and usually, it’s nothing to worry about. 

It often occurs when you have to hand in a project that’s near or past deadline, rush off to work after waking up a little late, or when you’re learning to drive for the first time.

Chronic stress is when acute stress happens frequently for prolonged periods of time, and begins to impact your physical, mental, and/or emotional life.

There is good and bad stress

Really? Yep! Stress is what helps your body and brain handle everyday issues like childbirth, waking up to the annoying sound of an alarm clock, getting stuck in traffic, or even multitasking at work.

Sometimes, you may find yourself in situations where you need to act fast in an instant. 

Say, you woke up late and suddenly realize you have to catch up with an early morning flight for an unmissable meeting, or your child is locked up and choking inside a car that won’t open up, or you’re seconds away from a head-on collision with an oncoming vehicle.

In response to any of the above situations, stress hormones like cortisol course through your body giving you that incredible [instant] energy you need to take charge of your day, or be on top of your matter what.

The problem with stress is when it piles up and begins to affect your life negatively. Prolonged periods of stress can impact your mood, cognition, and even lead to serious health issues like -- heart disease, obesity, and depression.

How to better manage stress

While you can’t banish stress entirely from your body [and you shouldn’t even if you could,] stress can be controlled or better managed in such a way that it doesn’t impact your life in a big way.

Thankfully, there are a couple of things you can start doing right away to prevent stress from becoming chronic, pushing you over the edge...

#1: Eat healthy

Yes, sticking to a healthy diet [aka fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein] can reduce the risks of diet-related stressors.

Eating food rich in brain nutrients such as essential vitamins and minerals has been known to promote good mood and overall well being.

#2: Take some time out

Work is good. Being productive is even better. But you must take out time to relax and recharge after a long day.

Strike a balance between being responsible to others, and taking good care of yourself.

#3: Engage in regular exercise

Physical exercise has been shown to be very effective in relieving stress. 

Even just walking your dog in the evenings while taking in fresh air can go a long way in helping you stay cool and calm.

So guys, it’s a wrap -- but before you go…

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