Do you De-Stress?

By at March 10, 2011 | 4:45 pm | Print

Do you De-Stress?

Do you De-Stress?
By Nurse Kimberly

Last week on Thursday I had to give a speech at a club I belong to. Before it was my turn to speak the other members of the club had a chance to come to the front of the room and participate in a fun activity called “Table Topics”. Table Topics is an activity that helps one improve their ability to speak extemporaneously on the spot when asked a question. One of the table topics on the spot questions was “What do you do to relax?”.

It was not my question to answer but as I sat there and listened I began thinking about what I do to relax and release stress. There are two things that work best for me when I am trying to relax or just get away from it all. The first is running. There is something about the feel good high I get immediately following a good work out that lasts all day long. Even when I don’t feel like I have enough energy left to do it, or hours in the day, I know that if I can squeeze in thirty minutes of sweating I will feel relaxed. The other thing that always helps me unwind is a family night of cooking dinner at home and either renting a movie or watching a new episode of one of  my favorite shows. It really is imperative to take time to de-stress and this is why.

A recent report on CNN focused on the detrimental impact that continual stress, even constant day to day stress,  can have on the body. Could heart disease be one of the consequences of not enough de-stressing? Heart disease is currently responsible for more deaths than anything else in this country. After reading the report my curiosity was peeked about what other health consequences unrelieved stress can cause. Stress causes the body’s “fight or flight” response to turn on. When the body is under constant stress and never relaxed it’s natural alarm , the fight or flight response, will always be on. For example, if someone snuck up behind you and you became scared and jumped that would be your fight or flight response kicking in. What if you have that feeling all of the time? What does it mean?

After your fight or flight system is triggered a series of signals happen and your adrenal glands are signaled to release the hormones adrenaline and cortisol into your body. Adrenaline increases your heart rate and causes your blood pressure to rise. During the fight or flight response cortisol is responsible for slowing down your digestive system, altering your immune system, and raising blood glucose levels. Without relaxing and allowing yourself to slow down, you aren’t able to shut of your body’s fight or flight response. This can lead to psychological and physiological damage to the body overtime. Some of the effects the Mayo Clinic claims constant stress on the body can cause are heart disease, sleep problems, obesity, depression, digestive problems, and memory impairment. All of that just for not taking time to de-stress!

I wrote this to help remind myself and everyone reading this article that it is so necessary to take time to recharge your battery. It is not always easy to do this, but we all should try. Maybe if we put forth extra effort to have “me time” everyday we would be a better colleague, parent, spouse, and partner. Most importantly a little me time would prove beneficial for our mental and physical health. Take 10 minutes today or even 5 to meditate, go to a yoga class, do some deep breathing exercise, read a book, go for a walk, get your nails done, or anything you like to do in order to de-stress and take care of your health.

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  1. […] etc. Stress is normal and it goes along the line of being good and bad depending on the situation. Stress is incredibly common amongst college students and when stress becomes too overwhelming, some […]


  1. Moshe Sharon, 6 years ago Reply

    The word “Stress” actually relates to wear and tear as when the rubber meets the road on a tire or the brake pads pressing up against the rotor in the wheel. The term as it applies to living organisms was first introduced by Hans Seyle in the 1930’s who defined it as the consequence of the failure of an organism (human or animal) to respond appropriately to emotional or physical threats, whether actual or imagined. Thus stress symptoms are the manifestation of a chronic state of responses to stress triggers that are actually benign. Even a thought can set off the same response mechanism that would be in play while standing in front of a hungry lion. Hence, Seyle’s definition still reaches to the heart of stress management; the idea of the response being inappropriate and engaging in a process of altering ones misperception of pending disaster or imminent danger.

    • Anonymous, 5 years ago Reply

      You’re right Moshe. Constant stress can kill anything. Only the strong survive, right? Staying stressed is one sure way to destroy the chances of having a well-lived life. It’s been well documented that exercise is probably the best ways to deal with it. Eating right helps too – because it’s one more thing that’s in my power to control.

      Watching my thoughts like a good fisherman at sea….always looking for something good on the horizon Not living for others. Staying, or at least TRYING to stay on the right road helps to eliminate stress from my life. I know when things have gone awry – it’s my job to put them back in order, keep priorities straight, and stay with it. It’s a combo of physical/mental/emotional and spiritual fitness – these help to combat stress. another tool of mine – step back, watch, listen and laugh at myself and the silly shit I say and do sometimes. DONT TAKE YOURSELF TOO SERIOUSLY!! LIFE IS TOO SHORT!! ENJOY YOUR TIME ON THIS PLANET.

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