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Always Get Sick After A Stressful Period? Science Says It’s Normal But Preventable

Always Get Sick After A Stressful Period? Science Says It’s Normal But Preventable

The final deadline is looming, the due date is soon! All the pressure is on you as you carefully analyze the work submission while trying to keep the peace in family blues at home. And then it eases by,  you make it! The deadline is over! The crammed headspace is released. And time for an escapade into a breath of relaxation. Just as you lay back and ease down by the poolside planning to make the booking for a retreat beach getaway, you get sick! You sit back and ponder, are you just unlucky? Surely it is known that stress makes you sick ,but how can you fall apart when the stressful job is done! What did you do so wrong now, You passed the tests. Made the deadline? Did the duties?

Luck has very little to do with it. It is called a post-stress condition, where the body’s defenses to ward off inflammation or infections after a stressful event phases out. Just after a strenuous project of any sort that heightens stress levels like, training for a marathon, a final exam, or working on completing a proposal, and just as you have successfully reached the end of the challenging tunnel reaching the limelight you suddenly fall sick!

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The Let Down Effect ClockWork

Marc Schoen, from the UCLA School of Medicine author of, When Relaxation is Hazardous to Your Health, calls this phase the ‘letdown’ reaction. Prostaglandins are released together with stress hormones leading to heart disease, arthritis, cancer, and migraines. What happens is the immune system is on alert and is set to fight. Now when stress starts to subside, the immune system goes on a retreat as well, leaving the body vulnerable to the effects of prostaglandins . Schoen’s states: “Don’t go from 100 miles and hour to a screeching halt.” Instead of launching straight onto the couch or next to the pool, schedule an exercise routine. A few minutes at different intervals during the day is sufficient to keep the immune system boosted. Schoen recommends brain stimulation as well, like crossword puzzles and card games. After this, you may unwind without effects of a crash landing.

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    The best way to avoid this ‘letdown’ phase is preventing strain. When you are under stress pace yourself,get enough sleep,exercise, and eat a healthy diet. Make time for relaxation like rhythmic breathing, meditation and decompress.If you feel that you lack time to adopt healthier habits, this problem has an immediate solution in sixty seconds. Yes, sixty seconds!

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    A study in the American College of Cardiology revealed that sitting for more four hours a day will leave you prone to sickness. If the main reason for not adopting healthier habits is because there is enough time, consider that problem solved in sixty seconds. Take minute walk intervals. Every step counts toward the ten thousand recommended per day.

    According to Dr Nieca Goldberg from the Joan H Tisch Centre for Women’s Health at New Yor University Medical center, when you have stressful episodes there is a need to take breaks and not get engage continuously. Even if you happen to be under extreme stress at work thirty seconds focusing on breathing exercises in between meetings will decompress the stress and avoid your body system to a force shut down keeping your immune system in check.

    Balance physical and mental stimulation in the correct intensity. Physical stimulation like brisk walks or taking the stairway a few times a day will assist. Mental stimulation in the form of mathematical problems. computer games, crossword puzzles  or chess are a critical window according to Schoen and you will emerge feeling refreshed and not down n out!

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    Nena Tenacity

    Nena is passionate about writing. She shares her everyday health and lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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    Last Updated on December 9, 2019

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

    Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

    Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

    1. Get Rationally Optimistic

    Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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    This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

    In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

    The result: no more mental stress.

    2. Unplug

    Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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    How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

    It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

    Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

    3. Easy on the Caffeine

    Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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    Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

    4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

    That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

    How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

    • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
    • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
    • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

    While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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    5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

    This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

    The result: mental stress will be gone!

    So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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    Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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