Have you ever been in the middle of a great day, and then you run into someone who is totally stressed out, angry or worried? And then before you know it, you’re knocked out of your good mood and are suddenly feeling stressed and agitated, too? If you’ve ever felt like you’ve caught a bad mood from someone, it probably wasn’t your imagination. Continue reading to find out more.
Fact: Stress Is Contagious
A study in the medical journal Nature Neuroscience observed the brain activity of mice. Scientists found that the brain changes associated with stress actually “infected” others. It wasn’t until the stressor was removed that effects began to subside in female mice. The effect on males, however, was prolonged. Although further research needs to be done with humans as subjects, this study gives us a peak into a truth we’ve already felt in our bodies: That stress has such a profound impact on us, right down to the brain and chemical level, even when it’s not our own!
The Effects of Stress on Our Bodies
While some stress is healthy – keeping us motivated and moving forward in our lives – too much stress or stress at the wrong times can take a toll. Over time it can affect your health, sleep, and even your waistline. So, what can you do about it? Learning how to mitigate stress and put your body in the best possible position to handle anything thrown its way is your best line of defense.
Reduce the Amount of Stress In Your Life
If you’re like most of it and have excess amounts of stress in your life, there are ways to lighten the load. Here are a few things you can do:
- Avoid stressful discussions at night before bed – save them for earlier in the day whenever possible. Being stressed makes it hard to sleep, which in turn can make you even more stressed.
- Work out hard. Studies show that putting your body through physical stress helps relieve mental stress.
- Try deep breathing. Take a deep exhale, and then slowly breathe in, feeling your belly and lungs expand, and slowly exhale. Repeat several times. You’ll feel your body start to relax.
- Eat healthy fats like salmon, chia and flaxseed. In one study, medical students who were given omega 3 supplements reported stress reduction of 20 percent (check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any supplements, especially if you take prescription medications!).
- Try aromatherapy – lavender, orange, ylang ylang and frankincense can help you relax.
- Get some fresh air. It’s amazing what going for a walk can do to change your perspective.
- Indulge in feel-good media. Watch a funny movie or TV show, listen to music, or listen to a comedy channel on streaming radio.
- Take a timeout. If you’re feeling stressed, make sure you’re not stressing out everyone around you. It will only make things worst for you and everyone else. Step away from the situation, engage in a self-care practice of your choice. The most important thing you can do is take a step back and take care of YOU. You’ll come back with a cooler head and a fresh perspective.
Don’t wait till you experience stress to figure out how to calm it. Implement some of the tips above as preventative measures and know what your go-to self care routine will be in emergencies. Which one will you try first?
Stronger for Today,
The Method3 Fitness Team
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