How does chronic stress affect a woman’s health?

Stress is your body’s response to the daily events in your life. “Good” stress serves to motivate you to achieve a goal. “Bad” stress is a negative, destructive and self-inflicted energy that eats away at your health and can lead to many debilitating issues, especially heart disease. The “fight or flight response” is a well-known adaptation to an acute (usually physical) stress, and all mammals, including humans, tap into it as a strategy to survive.

With stress, our heart kick starts our body into action. Our heart rate and blood pressure rise. Our blood vessels dilate and constrict to selective organs to give more oxygen to our brain and muscles and less to our digestive and reproductive systems. An acute stress reaction can be life-saving. Ironically, when this stress reaction exists chronically, it can be a killer. Multiple medical studies most commonly link chronic stress to heart attack and stroke, but also to other chronic illnesses like diabetes, obesity, infertility and numerous GI disorders.

Figuring out ways to manage chronic stress is crucial to your health, and especially your heart. Women can manage stress by practicing healthy self-care strategies for coping with stress. Examine your negative stress signs in each of these six life areas: physical, emotional, mental, occupational, social, and spiritual. What would you like to be different in your life? What do you need to do to achieve more balance or potential? Here are some suggestions.

-Physical. Exercise, practice relaxation techniques (yoga, meditation, listen to relaxing music), eat healthy (for example, follow the Mediterranean diet), schedule leisure time, get enough sleep (7 to 9 hours/night).

-Emotional. Express your emotions, repeat positive emotions, work toward a healthy self-esteem.

-Mental. Have a positive outlook, realistic thinking, resilient attitude, be creative.

-Occupational. Establish doable goals, identify home-work balance, set limits.

-Social. Strive to maintain loving relationships, establish healthy boundaries, stay connected with friends.

-Spiritual. Find your meaning/purpose, focus on gratitude, stay in the present moment.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Are You Up-to-Date on Your Immunizations?

Being immunized can help keep you from contracting a serious illness, and also safeguard your unborn child if you’re pregnant or are trying to get pregnant. Find out what you need to know about vaccinations to ensure a healthy and safe pregnancy.

Why You Should Never Ignore Abnormal Bleeding

Changes in your menstrual cycle, especially abnormal bleeding, shouldn’t be overlooked or ignored. Seeking help is the first step to diagnosing the problem, and a specialist in women's health is your best option.

Warning Signs of Menopause

Are you starting to experience a wide range of unusual symptoms as you age? It could be early warning signs of menopause. Hormonal depletion can cause a wide range of changes in your body and affect your mind, body, and mood.

What's Included in a Well-Woman Exam?

Have you had a well-woman exam this year to check out your reproductive and general health? Here’s what you can expect from this routine, annual visit to your gynecologist.

Tips for Developing Your Birth Plan

The birth of your child should be a wonderful experience. Having a detailed plan can help you enjoy the delivery of your baby without stress or misunderstandings about your wishes. Find out what to include in your own birth plan.