You are sitting in traffic, late for an important meeting, watching the minutes tick away. Your hypothalamus, a tiny control tower in your brain, decides to send out the order: send in the stress hormones! These stress hormones are the same ones that trigger your body’s “fight or flight” response. Your heart races, your breath quickens, and your muscles ready for action. This response was designed to protect your body in an emergency by preparing you to react quickly. But when the stress response keeps firing, day after day, it could put your health at serious risk.

Stress is a natural physical and mental reaction to life experiences. Everyone expresses stress from time to time. Anything from everyday responsibilities like work and family to serious life events such as a new diagnosis, war, or the death of a loved one can trigger stress. For immediate, short-term situations, stress can be beneficial to your health, and it can help you cope with potentially serious situations. Your body responds to stress by releasing hormones that increase your heart and breathing rates and ready your muscles to respond.

The problem arises when your stress response does not stop firing and these stress levels stay elevated far longer than is necessary for survival. Chronic stress can cause a variety of symptoms and affect your overall well-being. Symptoms of chronic stress include:
• irritability
• anxiety
• depression
• headaches
• insomnia

Chronic stress can also influence behaviors such as overeating, not eating enough, alcohol or drug abuse, and social withdrawal. It can also raise blood pressure, cause digestive issues, create body aches, alter sex hormones, and even weaken the immune system.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, check out the next page for stress management tips.

Stress Prevention

• Exercise: Any type of movement can help improve mood and sleep.
• Diet: A healthy diet can lessen the effects of stress, build up your immune system, level your mood, and lower your blood pressure.
• Sleep: A common side effect of stress is that you may struggle to fall asleep. But lack of sleep can also add to your stress level and cause a cycle of stress and sleeplessness.
• Gratitude: Whether you’re grateful for a sunny day or thankful you arrived at work safely, try to think about all the good things you have in life.

Stress Relief

• Yoga
• Meditation
• Deep Breathing
• Connect with People
• Hug a Loved One
• Control you Inner Voice
• Talk Therapy
• Laugh Therapy
• Take a Walk
• Guided Imagery
• Aromatherapy
• Create Artwork Volunteer
• Get a Massage
• Focus on the Present Moment

Implementing just one of these practices into your life a couple times a week can start to melt the stress away. But just remember, everyone is different. You may have to try various things to figure out what works for you. If you need help managing your stress reach out to your Triada health coach today!


• Smith, M. W. (2020, November 24). Ways to Manage Stress.
• Scott, E. (2020, January 8). Effective Stress Relievers for Your Life.


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