By J W Jackie
RENO, Nevada, USA (IDN) – By next year, stress-related mental health conditions will be prevalent across the globe and will be second only to ischemic heart disease in scope of disability, as reported by the World Health Organization. In part, the problem has to do with work.
A survey by business consultancy firm, Regus, found that 50% of all workers worldwide are more stressed than they were a mere 18 months ago, with 59% chalking it down to their job.
The precise causes of stress vary according to country, of course. In the U.S., for instance, the state of the nation is one of the biggest causes of concern, while in Spain, a lack of time is the main issue. Regardless of its cause, stress is here for the long haul. How can human beings across the globe curb its power over their physical and mental health?
Before taking measures to curb stress, knowing its effect on your physical and mental health is key. It is important to be vigilant of factors such as the number of hours you have been sleeping, the frequency of headaches and muscular tension, your breathing rate, and your heart rate.
These days, technology is giving the average person a big helping hand, with fitness watches devices that measure the space between heartbeats (HRV) to elicit stress levels. HRV stands for Heart Rate Variability.
When you are at an optimal state of wellness, your heart is quick to respond to changes and demands, and the space between beats varies slightly to adapt to these needs.
When you are stressed, however, your heart adapts to change significantly less. Taking regular readings (an easy, affordable process) is a great way to elicit the extent to which you are pushing your physical or mental limits.
Battling Stress Proactively
If you discover that you are stressed, the good news is that there are many ways to ‘take the bull by the horns’. Many recent studies have shown that holistic activities in particular – including yoga, mindfulness meditation, and Tai Chi, significantly reduce levels of stress hormone, cortisol, as measured in saliva.
In one study published in Experimental Biology, it was found that people with anxiety showed reduced stress on their arteries after just one introductory session of mindfulness meditation. Other proven means of reducing stress include physical activity and spending time in nature. In April this year, a study published in Frontiersfound that taking just 20 minutes a day to sit in a green area can significantly lower stress levels.
Holistic activities may work quickly and efficiently, but it is important to find a stress busting method that speaks to you. This way, you will be more likely to be consistent and committed to it, thus increasing its chances of making a difference to your life.
A Drexel University study has shown, for instance, that creating art (at any level) reduces stress hormones. Similar findings have been found for music. The key consideration is to find an activity you love; one that can also help you reach a state of calm and happiness.
Stress is officially reaching epidemic proportions in various parts of the world. Because chronically high cortisol levels are linked to a plethora of health conditions (including heart disease and obesity), it is vital for those affected to take daily measures against high-tension levels. From meditation to music therapy, there are many options to choose. [IDN-InDepthNews – 02 November 2019]
Photo credit: Pixabay
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