Most people have felt stressed from time to time. It is important to know that stress may have negative effects on the entire body if it is unchecked? Researchers find that chronic stress harms certain brain functions and causes inflammation in the body. Stress may trigger or aggravate other diseases. For people who are recovering from substance addiction, it is vital to integrate stress management into a relapse prevention plan.
What Are the Negative Effects of Stress on the Body?
The medical community defines “stress” as “any intrinsic or extrinsic stimulus that evokes a biological response.” It is a natural response from our body as we cope with the challenges of living in the world.
The “fight-or-flight” response happens when the brain releases stress hormones to alarm a person into action. But our bodies are designed to handle stress in small and irregular doses. Chronic stress, which is a prolonged time of exposure to stressors, may cause lasting negative effects on the nervous system and structural changes in the brain, impairing both cognition and memory.
Many studies have shown that stress can cause functional changes in the hippocampus, which is a part of the brain. This may lead to decreased neurogenesis in the hippocampus tissue. A high concentration of stress hormones may also cause memory disorders, leading to negative effects on learning and decision-making.
People under stress are more likely to have an impaired immune system. This is because stress mediators can pass through the blood-brain barrier and negatively impact the immune system. Stress also inhibits the production of certain hormones in the body, including growth hormones. These same hormones play an important role in regulating the function of the immune system.
What Are Some Effective Ways to Ease Stress?
Everybody faces different triggers of stress in life. Stress management aims to reduce demands in life while freeing up time for relaxation. Practicing good time management at work helps to prevent becoming overwhelmed with work demands. Saying no to additional work may be necessary. Building healthy boundaries to safeguard personal “off” time is critical. People should remember that they do not always need to meet the expectations of others.
Some people might experience stress in the family due to divorce, domestic violence, or conflicts. Maybe it is time to set up an intervention or to work with a family therapist. Healthy boundaries are also important in the home. Time should be scheduled to be alone and free from family demands. Sometimes working with a health professional is needed to begin a journey of self-reflection and healing.
The lifestyle of substance addiction can be very stressful. Even after completing detox treatment and reaching sobriety, people need to watch out for common stressors. Recovery is hard, intentional work.
Dealing with triggers and cravings is a long-term struggle. New hobbies may help to provide a distraction from these cravings or urges. Association with sober friends who know how to have fun and relax can be helpful.
How Can Relaxation Muscles Be Built Up?
It is worth the time to learn relaxation techniques every day to strengthen stress management work. There are many proven methods, including breathing work, guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, massage, mindfulness meditation, and creative therapies. Spending time in nature allowing the mind to go “free” without worrying or planning can reduce stress.
Some people find it relaxing to connect with good friends. Simple physical touch, such as a hug from a loved one, can do wonders to relieve stress. This “feel good” sensation comes from the release of oxytocin, a hormone associated with high levels of happiness and a sense of relaxation. Watching a movie, gardening, or enjoying aromatherapy may also alter brain wave activities that decrease stress hormones in the body.
Why Is It Important to Refrain From Substances and Chemicals?
No external chemicals or substances can help reduce stress without side effects. Alcohol, drugs, or food should not be used to reduce stress. They may cause other health issues and additional stress on the body. However, many people seek out drugs and alcohol to deal with chronic stress.
It is a way to self-medicate, only with the wrong medicine. They may feel relaxed for a while, but the same neurotransmitters that are helping the brain feel that way are the same conduits for increased cravings and compulsion. Natural ways to manage stress through holistic, lifestyle modifications take time and patience. They are effective in helping people, including recovering individuals, to utilize the body’s natural rhythms and cycles so that the body can be restored.
Full recovery from chronic stress or related substance addiction requires constant adjustment. The slow way is the only way towards holistic health.
Are you good at managing stress regularly? Do you want to master some basic but essential stress management techniques? You need to realize that no external chemicals or substances can help you reduce stress without leaving side effects. Do not rely on alcohol, drugs, or food to reduce stress. They may cause other health issues and stress your body even more. If you are looking for recovery-supportive therapists who can coach you on how to effectively manage stress without resorting to substance use, you need to check out Casa Recovery. Our experienced team of health professionals has helped many individuals and families learn stress management and maintain overall health. Each client’s treatment team will work with them to provide customized efficient and effective treatment methods that have been developed and applied in clinical settings. We embrace a holistic approach and there are many proven techniques we can work on together. Call today at (888) 928-2272.