We have all experienced stress at some point in our lives but what actually is stress? The definition of stress is "A state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances"
While the majority of cardiac arrests are caused and explained by underlying issues such as heart disease, there has been recent research that shows emotional stress could be a trigger for unexplained cardiac arrests (called idiopathic ventricular fibrillation). Just under half of those surveyed experienced a stressful event during the 24 hours before going into cardiac arrest and the majority of survivors said they had experienced significant amount of stress in the 6 months prior to their heart trouble.
Stress can be brought on by a number of situations or circumstances, these include:
- Money matters
- Relationships; partners, children or other family members
Unfortunately, not everyone realises when they are stressed. In many cases people around you can pick up the signs of increased tension well before you might notice yourself. Everyone is different, but there are some symptoms and signs that you could be stressed.
- Constant worrying
- Poor concentration
- Seeing only the negative
- Irritability or a short temper
- Feeling lonely
- Mood swings
- Aches and pains
- Nausea or dizziness
- Chest pains
So now we know what causes stress and also the symptoms of stress, what can we do to reduce it?
Exercising to help stress
It might seem a bit cliché but exercise is great for avoiding stress, when you exercise your body releases chemicals called endorphins, they react with receptors in your brain that work to reduce your perception of pain. They also trigger a positive feeling in the body similar to that of morphine. Not only can exercise reduce stress, but it can also lower the risk of the following:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Breast cancer
- Colon cancer
- Coronary heart disease and stroke
So what kind of exercise can you do to reap the benefits of this? Moderate-intensity aerobic exercise is best, this means you are working your body hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat.
Examples of this exercise are:
- Walking fast
- Riding a bike
- Pushing a lawn mower
It is important to make time for activities, if you would usually drive to your local shop then walk instead. Even relatively small changes really can make a great difference to your wellbeing.
Accepting the things you can’t change will help with stress
Another way to avoid stress is to stop trying to control everything. Not everything in life is under your control, and once you learn to accept this and let it go, you can reduce the stress in your life. Instead, focus on the things you can control i.e. the way you react to situations or people.
Positive Mental Attitude. Looking on the brightside goes a long way to avoiding stress, if you are going through a tough time try and look at the positives of the situation e.g. character building, making you a stronger person etc. If the situation you are in is your own doing, then reflect on where you went wrong and use this experience to grow as a person.
Forgiveness; this is a tough for a lot of people, but holding onto anger and resentfulness is only harming yourself. Letting go of these resentments will remove the negative energy that has built up.
Having a healthy, well-balanced diet is the key to a stress free life. Make sure you start the day with breakfast; porridge or oat-based cereals like muesli are great for this, as they are slow-energy release foods. This means they keep you fuller for longer, with the result that you are less likely to snack or binge on something naughty before lunch. If you do need to snack, you can add fruit like blueberries for natural sugar and a great source of antioxidants.
Cutting down on caffeine and sugar is also a great way to reduce any lows. Both create great temporary highs however, the come down in mood and energy can make you become dependent on these, sugar especially.
Consuming too much sugar leads to weight gain which not only add physical stress onto your body, but also emotional. Not only that, it can create sleep problems as well, which is detrimental to wellbeing and stress levels.
You can replace sweets and chocolates with fruit (dried or fresh) and nuts while caffeine can be replaced with water. The benefits are huge, as even if you are just 5% dehydrated it can affect your concentration and capacity for work by 30%, which can lead to mistakes or in extreme examples, accidents.
We hope that you find this article useful, you can find out more about reducing stress and a healthy lifestyle by visiting the NHS website.
ESE Direct supply AED's (defibrilators) which can be used in the event of a cardiac arrest and increase survival rate, especially if you are in a rural area. You can speak to our friendly customer service team on 0808 163 3704 or speak to them online using LiveChat on www.esedirect.co.uk.
Author Bio - Laura Holland
Social Media and Web Content Coordinator, Jan 2014 - May 2015