by Brooke Faulkner
Although some people have well-established yoga and meditation routines for dealing with stress, the rest of us sometimes struggle to find the time to fit preventative wellness practices into our daily routines. Though many of us would like to find the time to practice yoga and meditation every day, we may not have the inclination.
However, no matter how we look at it, eventually the avoidance of dealing with underlying problems related to stress will catch up to us unless we are willing to not only find physical outlets for stress, like vigorous cardiovascular exercise, but also to uncover the root of the problem — or problems.
Here are three concrete ways that the rest of us can deal with everyday stress and anxiety to prevent them from becoming bigger physical and psychological problems.
Go the Doctor
Nobody likes to go the doctor, but you should go before physical problems become even bigger lifestyle problems compounded over time. When you’re legitimately sick, good doctors will not only treat you, but use it as an opportunity to offer preventative services that are not required every two years, such as screening for diseases, counseling on smoking cessation and weight loss advice. It’s an opportunity to maximize your trip to the doctor.
Don’t be afraid to get something checked out even if going seems like an annoying inconvenience. For example, if you notice a lump in your neck, would you stress out and wait until it got bigger before going? It could be a matter of life or death if you do, and the compounding stress levels you experience won’t be worth it.
Though many of us avoid going to the doctor because of the inevitably high overhead costs, many hospitals and clinics
now have payment programs and financial aid to help avoid financial strain. If you don’t work out a payment plan, the provider will turn your bill over to collections. Nobody wants to procrastinate to the point of going into medical debt and getting a dreaded collection notice. Instead, save yourself the headache and plan ahead by working out monthly installments with your provider.
Ironically (or perhaps not so ironically), smokers turn to smoking as a way to relax and destress. However, it’s become evident that this habit does more harm than good to your body over time–and the good news is, it’s never too late to quit. You hear stories all the time of smokers who successfully quit after 15, 25 and even 30 years of investing in their habit. If you’re whole life centers around your next nicotine fix, you potentially miss out on a lot of things, such as the taste of food, healthy lungs, and more.
If you happen to smoke, it is definitely in your best interest to quit — even if you do so by replacing cigarettes gradually with the help of stand-ins like e-cigarettes, toothpicks, and other healthier habits.
An estimated 36.5 adults in the U.S. currently smoke cigarettes and more than 16 million live with a smoking-related disease, according to the CDC. Vaping and e-cigarettes are becoming a popular alternative or tool in helping people quit. Studies have found e-cigarettes to be 95 percent less dangerous to people’s health than cigarette smoking, while still providing a similar stress-relieving function as traditional smoking.
Get Physically and Mentally Healthy
A healthy mind and a physically healthy body are intertwined–stress has a nasty habit of occasionally derailing both of these things. Poor physical health can lead to an increased risk of developing mental health problems, and poor mental health can negatively impact physical health.
Chronic stress can increase your risk for depression. Depression sufferers often have worse physical health, as well as worse self-perceived health, than those without depression. Depression is linked to a 67 percent increased risk of death from heart disease and a 50 percent increased risk of death from cancer. Often this is because people with mental health conditions are less likely to receive the physical healthcare they need and less likely to get routine screenings for high blood pressure and cholesterol.
Getting a good dose of cardio may not be fun for everyone, but it definitely helps clear the mind, release endorphins, and produce blood flow and oxygen to the brain. You can also reap those benefits from simply walking 35 minutes a day. Regular exercise three times a week can even reduce symptoms of mild to moderate depression potentially brought on by various stressors in your life.
With preventative practices, there are many methods to relieve stress and take care of your mind and body. What are some of your best stress management techniques?