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Is Stress Damaging Your Health?

Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors

Is Stress Damaging Your Health?

Bring more wellness into your world.
Susan Smith Jones Ph.D.
Susan Smith Jones Ph.D. More by this author
Nov 20, 2009 at 09:00 AM

Whether it’s a new week, a new month, a new season or a new year, it’s a great time to make choices about improving your health. One of the best ways to bring wellness into your world is to decrease the level of stress you experience on a daily basis. Why is reducing stress so important? Believe it or not, the American Association of Family Physicians reports that two-thirds of all doctor visits are due to stress-related ailments. It’s also believed that 80 to 90 percent of all diseases are stress-related. And if you’re female, stress may be even more damaging to your health. Study after study has found that women suffer from both stress and depression more often than men.

Although most of us think of deadlines and commitments when we think of stress, stress has many other causes. It can be triggered by emotions—anger, fear, worry, grief, depression, or even guilt. And stress can actually lead to weight gain, high blood pressure, heart problems, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, headaches, and other illnesses and chronic health conditions. If you want to avoid these problems, follow my 7 steps to living a vibrantly healthy, stress-less life.

  1. Get moving! That’s right—exercise is one of the best ways to reduce stress in your life. It relaxes muscles and eases tension.
  2. Meditate and breathe deeply. Spend a few minutes of quiet relaxation first thing in the morning and later in the day. Sit and close your eyes and focus on your breathing. This way, you’ll bookend your day on a stress-free note.
  3. Eat a stress-relieving diet. Take stress off your digestive system by eating at least 7 servings of fresh fruits and veggies daily; they are high in water content and easily digestible.
  4. Keep your body hydrated. Our bodies are 70% water; our cells are 70% water; our planet Earth is 70% water. That’s no coincidence. Each day, drink at least 7 glasses of purified water. A healthy body is a fully hydrated body.
  5. Catch plenty of Zzzs. Lack of sleep undermines your body’s ability to deal with stress. That’s why it’s important to get 7-8 hours of rest per night.
  6. Laugh a lot. Mollify stress with lots of laughter. It releases endorphins into the body that act as natural stress-beaters. It also helps relieve pain and counteracts fear, anger, and depression, all of which are linked to illness and stress.
  7. Be thankful—and reap the health benefits. Each and every day, take a moment and be grateful for all you have in life. Focusing on the positive, even during difficult times, is a wonderful way to reduce and alleviate stress and transform your life.
About Author
Susan Smith Jones Ph.D.
Susan Smith Jones, Ph.D., has authored a variety of audio programs, 20 books, and hundreds of magazine articles. For 30 years, at UCLA, she taught students, staff, and faculty how to be healthy and fit; and is internationally renowned as a holistic h Continue reading