Summer is a time of year that many people look forward to, especially if they’re planning a vacation. Keeping stress under control is key to having a fun summer and trip, since chronic stress can have a negative impact on your mind and body.
How Can You Avoid Stressful Situations?
Planning and participating in summer activities can be stressful. With so much buildup and anticipation, you may envision a perfect vacation and can put yourself under tremendous pressure to make it happen. The following tips can help you avoid summer stress so you’re enjoying this time of year as much as possible:
Start early and make a list of items you’ll need so you can get them together and pack. Last-minute rushing around starts the trip out with everyone stressed.
Don’t Expect Perfection
Having unrealistic expectations can make you tense and disappointed when things are less than perfect. Expect a few bumps in the road, and appreciate the interesting experiences, family interaction, and other fun times. In hindsight, you’ll cherish the memories, and some of those unexpected moments could become funny stories.
Be Open and Flexible
Be open to an experience in which you meet new people and experience a different culture. Truly embrace your destination and what it has to offer.
Get Enough Sleep
Between travel time and trying to fit everything in on your vacation, you may be skimping on sleep. Try to stick to as consistent a sleep schedule as possible, since sleep helps control the levels of stress hormones.
What Are the Benefits of Not Being Stressed?
Avoiding chronic stress provides you with the following benefits:
- Less risk of depression and anxiety
- More enjoyment of life
- Improved health
What Happens to Your Mind Under Stress?
When you’re under stress, your brain communicates to the rest of your body, triggering a “fight or flight” response. A hormone called cortisol is released in order to restore energy, and after the stress has ended, your cortisol levels fall back to normal.
Chronic stress, however, has an ongoing affect on your mind as well as the rest of your body. In normal, healthy amounts, cortisol performs important functions in your brain, helping in the area where memories are processed and stored. When you’re under chronic stress and too much cortisol continues to be released, it can impair the way your brain functions.
Too much ongoing stress can result in the following:
- Developing issues with memory and learning
- Making you less social than you normally are
- Killing brain cells
- Reducing the size of your brain
- Causing or worsening physical symptoms such as headaches
- Increase chances of anxiety and depression
- Increase risk of having a stroke
To find out more ways to reduce the stress in your life or to talk to a doctor about how it may be affecting you, make an appointment today with Complete Neurological Care. We have convenient locations throughout New York City and Long Island.