Health Spotlight: Hidden Daily Stressors
Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash
It’s no secret that stress is part of our lives, but how we manage it is what makes the biggest difference in our health. If we don’t find ways to manage our stress, we run the risk of creating health problems for our bodies in the future. Certain stressors, even though they may be subtle, have been proven to increase our stress levels and put our bodies into panic mode.
When this happens, it’s important to take a moment to care for yourself before anything else and make sure you’re okay to continue. There are different things you can do depending on how bad your stress levels are.
Knowing how to deal with stress is one thing but it’s also important to identify where it comes from – here are a few sources of everyday stress:
This can be a huge factor in raising your stress levels; leaving even a few minutes late can throw off your schedule for buses and trains or have you sitting in traffic much longer than anticipated. In a 2013 study, Swedish researchers found that women who lived more than 31 miles from work tended to die sooner than those who lived closer, namely due to the stress of traveling and the time it takes away from other priorities, like family. Plus, the further you have to travel every day, the less physically active you are. This means your blood pressure, body weight, and metabolic risks all rise, according to a 2012 study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Your Endless To-Do List
Does your list seem to get longer and longer, with not much getting scratched off? A never-ending to-do list can be terrible for your mental wellness, especially for those who thrive on completing their tasks. Type A personalities are more prone to this form of stress.
We all love our phones, tablets and laptops, but being too attached can actually stress you out. Battery dying? Can’t figure out a program or app? A 2011 University of Cambridge study shows that over one-third of people feel overwhelmed by technology, and that those who aren’t crazy about devices feel less satisfied with their lives. Plus, a Swedish study found that people who look at screens late at night were more likely to be stressed and have depressive symptoms than those who turned off technology before bed.
Your brain is chemically wired to remain active for 90 minutes, and then it clicks into rest mode for 20. So, trying to do too many things at once actually isn’t a good thing! What we end up doing is causing brain fatigue. Multiple studies have shown that people are more productive when they work uninterrupted for 90 minutes and then take a 15 to 20 minute break. Instead of trying to balance multiple things all day, set your alarm for an hour and a half. Work straight through, focusing on a single task.