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Mid Coast Center for Community Health & Wellness Newsletter
January 2021
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The Importance of Reducing Stress

Reducing Stress

Stress can sometimes impact our lives in negative ways. It has been scientifically proven that there is a relationship between stress and disease; however, the impact varies from person to person.

Stress individually affects us through many contributing factors including:

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Coping styles
  • Personality type
  • Social supports

Short-Term versus Chronic Stress

There are two primary types of stress: short-term stress and chronic stress.

  • Short-term stress has a brief impact, and it often occurs unexpectedly. It causes your body to respond, but it can be countered with stress-relieving activities.
  • Chronic stress occurs frequently, and it may leave your body feeling exhausted or drained over time. Your body's stress responses remain in place, and without relaxation, it is possible to remain stressed indefinitely. Treating this type of stress requires a more robust approach that includes both short- and long-term relief actions.

From a health perspective, the leading difference between the two types of stress is that short-term stress can boost the immune system, while chronic stress can weaken the immune system and promote illness.

Studies show that chronic stress is a contributing factor for heart disease, asthma, obesity, diabetes, depression, and gastrointestinal problems. Reducing stress can lead to a number of health benefits.

Choosing Ways to Respond

You can choose your method for responding to stress. Symptoms such as a racing heart, sweaty palms, or tense muscles seem unavoidable, but you can learn new habits. One positive habit that can help reduce stress is practicing mindfulness.

No matter your lifestyle, it can be extremely difficult to find moments throughout the day for you to slow down and become mindful of your wellbeing. However, you can practice mindfulness and meditation any time of the day that is most convenient for you. You can also practice mindfulness in short durations.

To be mindful is intentionally paying attention to the present moment and being aware of your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Mindfulness has been known to help with:

  • Chronic pain
  • Anxiety
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Stress

As part of our mission to care for the health of our community, Mid Coast Hospital offers a variety of wellness programs to assist community members of all levels with initiating and maintaining a mindfulness practice.

You can quickly initiate mindfulness by concentrating on your breathing, visualizing yourself in a peaceful setting, and focusing on something to increase awareness of the present moment, which in turn can reduce stress, promote relaxation, and enhance both personal and spiritual growth.

Continue your practice over time, and when you find a rhythm that works for you, repeat its use. Your techniques will improve the relaxing effects over time.

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