Combatting Stress: Strategies for Lowering Stress Levels and Protecting Your Health

Stress has been a prevalent issue in Western society for years, but its impact escalated significantly in 2020. According to a Gallup poll conducted in 2018, 45% of people reported feeling worried frequently, while 22% felt angry a lot.1

Addressing stress levels is crucial to reduce the risk of health problems associated with the physiological and psychological responses to perceived threats or challenges. Walter Gjergja, also known as Shi Xing Mi, a Shaolin monk, philanthropist, and speaker, shared valuable tips on combating stress in everyday life with the New York Post2.

Rising Problems With Stress

The American Psychological Association’s Stress in America 2022 report highlighted concerns among Americans about the future and challenges with inflation. The report indicated that a significant percentage of respondents felt their rights were under threat and were considering relocating to another country due to feeling unprotected by U.S. laws.

These conditions contribute to chronic stress, which is linked to depression. The Stress in America 2023 report further emphasized that society was undergoing a collective trauma, extending beyond the pandemic. Long-term stress experienced during the pandemic has notably impacted well-being, leading to an increase in chronic illnesses and mental health diagnoses, especially among adults aged 35 to 44.

Gallup’s 2023 findings indicated a sharp rise in depression rates in the U.S., reaching the highest levels recorded since 2015.

Health Problems Related to Stress

Stress is associated with various health conditions, including Takotsubo cardiomyopathy (Broken heart syndrome), which can result from emotional or physical stress. Prolonged stress not only poses life-threatening risks to adults but also predisposes children to health issues later in life, such as heart disease, cancer, mental illness, and impaired immune function.

Additionally, stress increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes by triggering overactivity in the amygdala, the brain’s fear center activated by real or perceived threats.

Reducing stress levels and inflammation can positively impact diseases linked to inflammation, such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, autoimmune disorders, cancer, and chronic liver and kidney diseases.

Taking Simple Steps Can Lower Stress and Protect Your Health

Walter Gjergja recommends six simple steps to significantly reduce stress levels, leading to improved overall health. Emphasizing the importance of mindfulness and proactive habits, these steps aim to help individuals manage daily stressors effectively and cultivate a sense of calm:

1. Mindful exercise — Engage in exercises like yoga, tai chi, cycling, or swimming to reduce stress levels through conscious movement and breathing.

2. Walking — Regular walking, especially outdoors, is a powerful stress-reliever that promotes the release of endorphins and regulates cortisol levels.

3. Spending time in nature — Being in natural surroundings helps calm the mind and alleviate work-related stress.

4. Eat well — A nutrient-rich diet, including fruits, vegetables, and fermented foods, can reduce stress levels and support overall health.

5. Cut out caffeine — Limit caffeine intake to avoid exacerbating stress and prioritize quality sleep for optimal mental well-being.

6. Put down your phone — Reduce screen time, especially on social media, to lower stress levels and improve productivity.

Five Additional Strategies That May Lower Your Stress Level

Here are five additional strategies to help reduce stress levels:

1. Journaling gratitude — Practicing gratitude through journaling can significantly improve anxiety, depression, and spiritual well-being.

2. Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) — EFT can help reprogram the body’s stress response and promote emotional well-being.

3. Breathing — Utilize various breathing techniques to reduce stress levels and enhance relaxation.

4. Vitamins and herbs — Consider incorporating magnesium, vitamin B6, and adaptogenic herbs like Ashwagandha to manage stress and support overall health.

5. Essential oil — Orange essential oil can help reduce stress, alleviate pain, boost mood, and support weight management through aromatherapy.

By implementing these strategies into your daily routine, you can effectively combat stress, improve your overall well-being, and protect yourself from the adverse health effects associated with chronic stress and inflammation.

For more information on how to fight against work stress, refer to the original article by Dr. Mercola featuring Walter Gjergja on Mercola.com.

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