AlzU Blog

Tips for Stress Reduction for Alzheimer’s Caregivers

Many research studies have linked stress to adverse effects on the body, particularly on heart and brain health.  Whether you are stressed out because of caregiver responsibilities, an unhappy marriage, daily commute in heavy traffic, work issues, stress has a major impact.  From lack of sleep to mood disorders or even heart disease and an increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease, stress causes a major toll on the body.  Not only does stress impact major illnesses such as cardiac disease and Alzheimer’s, the more stressed out we are, the more vulnerable we are to colds, flus and a long list of other chronic diseases.

Although it’s not known exactly how stress adversely affects the heart and brain, many scientists draw parallels between stress and the inflammation process.  Harvard Health reports, “Stress does cause some people to act in ways that increase their risk for heart disease,” Dr. Bhatt says. “For example, when stressed, people often eat unhealthy food and don’t have the energy or time to exercise. Stress can also lead us into other heart-damaging behaviors, such as smoking and drinking too much alcohol.”

Although it is highly unlikely that most of us can anticipate getting through life without in stress, (we can’t control what happens to us), our reaction to stress is something we can all manage.

1.Focus on the breath-deep breathing from the diaphragm helps to oxygenate the blood and promotes instant relaxation.  On the other hand, shallow chest breathing can cause the heart to beat faster, muscles to tense up and may even exacerbate stress.

2.Get physically active-take a walk, or better yet go to the gym and pump some iron.  Exercise releases mood-boosting chemicals called endorphins The physically relaxing effects of exercise cannot be emphasized enough when it comes to stress reduction.

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