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According to the American Institute of Stress, stress is defined as “the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change.”

The stress response is the body’s way of protecting you. When working properly, it helps you stay focused, energetic, and alert. But beyond a certain point, stress stops being helpful and starts causing major damage to your health, your mood, your productivity, your relationships, and your quality of life. 

Possible causes of stress include:

  1. Having more responsibilities than you can handle with ease
  2. Constantly working long hours with little work/life balance
  3. Receiving too few resources to adequately meet your survival needs
  4. Having conflicting or unclear expectations
  5. Having minimal support from family and friends

These are just to name a few, but in an every changing world, new stressors arise everyday. Long-term exposure to stress can lead to serious health problems. Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body. It can raise blood pressure, suppress the immune system, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, contribute to infertility, and speed up the aging process. Long-term stress can even rewire the brain, leaving you more vulnerable to anxiety and depression.

You can’t avoid all stress, but you can counteract its negative effects by learning how to activate your relaxation response, which is a stress management technique that helps people reduce their level of physical and mental arousal. Below are suggestions for how to counter increased stress and overwhelm.

Neck rotations- loosely drop the head down with your chin close to your chest. Slowly roll head from right to left and then left to right. Repeat as needed. 

Pelvis tilt– With your feet flat on the floor, tilt your pelvis forward so your lower back rounds, and then tip your pelvis backward so your lower back arches and your belly protrudes a little. Keep your neck, shoulders, and stomach relaxed. Repeat several times slowly. This will not only help relax your lower body, but will further instruct you in finding that neutral pelvic position that is not tilted to either extreme and helps you sit up straight comfortably. 

Water-It is important to have sufficient water intake, as even a mild state of dehydration can stress your entire body

Foods- Blueberries/oranges: Very high in vitamin C which has been shown to give the body added reserves to help it deal with high levels of stress Dried apricot: Rich in magnesium which is a natural muscle relaxant Soy: Try adding foods that are made out of soy to your diet, such as soymilk, tofu, and soy nuts. It is high in protein, B vitamins, calcium, and magnesium.

Give these few techniques and interventions a try and let us know how it went!