The idea that stress is a bad thing is a myth. There are numerous ways to benefit from stress. Among these are increased endorphin production, reduced gut inflammation, lower risk for other health problems, and relaxation. However, you can’t simply avoid stress. You need to learn to appreciate it and find ways to manage it. Below are some ways to benefit from stress. These activities will have multiple positive benefits:
Exercise boosts endorphin production
Many exercise enthusiasts are under the impression that aerobic exercise raises endorphin levels. This hormone is produced by the body during exercise, and it is the feel-good neurotransmitter responsible for the “runner’s high” that many people experience after a run. Whether you prefer running or biking, exercise can help you boost your levels of endorphins. However, it’s not just running that raises endorphin levels. Doing any physical activity regularly, especially aerobics, can boost endorphin levels in the body.
While exercise increases endorphin production, it doesn’t necessarily produce a “high.” Instead, it promotes a state of euphoria. While this feeling is similar to that felt after taking opioid pain relievers, it is not addictive, and it has no negative side effects. Studies have shown that exercise boosts endorphin production without affecting the effects of opioids on the brain.
Reduces inflammation in the gut
Many chronic diseases and conditions are caused by impaired gut-brain communication. The gut is filled with hundreds of millions of neurons, many of which operate independently. These nerves send signals to the brain and are responsible for gut sensations, like the feeling of “butterflies” in the stomach. High stress affects these nerves, causing pain and bloating to occur. In addition to gut discomfort, stress can hurt the brain, including the ability to think and affect emotions.
Researchers have found that high levels of stress are associated with changes in gut bacteria. Studies have shown that heightened gut permeability is associated with depressive symptoms. In addition to disrupting gut health, stress has been shown to change the microbiota of the gut, causing it to become more susceptible to disease. Various types of stress are associated with altered gut microbiota, leading to chronic inflammation. Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem.
Relaxes the mind and body
Many people don’t realize how much relaxing their mind and body can do. But relaxing our mind and body has been linked to our physical response to stress. For example, our mind speeds up our heart rate, and our breathing patterns increase. When our heart rate and breathing patterns increase, we release more stress hormones into our bodies. These stress hormones continue to build up even after the stressor has passed. By practicing relaxation techniques, we can trigger our body’s natural relaxation response, slowing down our heartbeat and breathing pattern. We can also lower our blood pressure and feel a sense of calm.
Another simple relaxation technique is to perform breathing exercises. The simple, deep breaths are beneficial for relieving stress and anxiety. You can try breathing exercises wherever you are, so long as you have a quiet and comfortable place. Then, put your hand on your belly and breathe slowly in and out, raising and lowering your belly. Repeat this exercise five times and as many times as you need to feel relaxed. You can also use meditation or mindful breathing techniques while exercising to relax your body and mind.
Lowers your risk for other conditions
The effects of chronic stress on your body are well documented. For example, chronic stress can lead to chronic heart disease, high blood pressure, inflammation in the coronary arteries, and digestive upset. Your immune system can also be compromised as a result of the stress response. Acute and chronic stress both increase your heart rate and blood pressure. Your body also responds to stress by raising or lowering your cholesterol levels. Chronic stress can also lead to other diseases, such as depression and anxiety.
Long-term stress has been linked to a host of health conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and obesity. Studies have shown that reducing long-term stress can decrease the risk of these conditions. Stress can also trigger unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, overeating, drinking alcohol, and not getting enough exercise. However, there is a difference between chronic and acute stress. While chronic stress is bad, some researchers believe that stress can reduce the progression of diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.