Direct Energy Wellness: How to Manage Chronic Stress

The Direct Energy Wellness series is designed to help you establish and maintain healthy living habits in the workplace. Our wellness experts will introduce you to a range of tips to keep your body and mind in tip-top shape – including exercises you can do at your desk!

Direct Energy Wellness: How to Manage Chronic Stress
We can’t totally get rid of stress in daily life, but we need to find ways to avoid the worst effects.

“We live by the myth that stress is the enemy in our lives. The real enemy is our failure to balance stress with intermittent rest. Push the body too hard for too long — chronic stress — and the result will indeed be burnout and breakdown.” – Harvard Business Review

Too much stress results in elevated cortisol levels, which can cause the following problems:

  • Anxiety and/or depression
  • Sleep problems
  • Weight gain
  • Memory and concentration impairment
  • Immune system suppression
  • Gastrointestinal (Digestive) problems
  • Cardiovascular disease – aka heart disease
  • Fertility problems

What should we do about our stress? We can’t eliminate it completely from our lives. In fact, moderate amounts of stress are essential to our productivity and lifestyle.

Direct Energy Wellness: How to Manage Chronic Stress
The clouds are parting to reveal the sun. Stress begone!

But how do we manage chronic stress and reduce its debilitating effects? We’ve collected some of the best methods below:

  • Exercise – Physical activity is one of the best ways to battle stress. Vigorous exercise is best, but even a 30-minute walk every day is extremely helpful. Get out there!
  • Simply Breathing – Inhale for four counts, and exhale for four. Do this for just ten breaths, and you should feel a bit calmer.
  • Sleep – Get more and better quality sleep. Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
  • Practice Gratitude Daily – Keep a gratitude journal or just remind yourself of one thing you are thankful for each day.

While stress isn’t the enemy, we do need to find ways to manage chronic stress so it doesn’t wreak havoc on our bodies, minds, and happiness!

What suggestions do you have for defeating stress in your life? Share your tips in the comments, and be sure to return on February 5th, 2016 for another installment of Direct Energy Wellness.

About 

Currently the Wellbeing & Engagement Manager for Direct Energy, Terrick Smith is a wellness professional with more than 15 years of experience. He has served at some of today’s most successful companies, including MD Anderson Cancer Center, where he worked as a wellness coach responsible for motivating and educating over 18,000 employees.

Terrick has the gold standard of certifications - ACSM Exercise Physiologist - and is also a NASM Fitness nutrition specialist. He completed the ADA-accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics at University of Houston, and he is eligible to sit for the Registered Dietitian exam.

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