It happens to all of us. You’re running late for work, fighting with a loved one, you feel a cold coming on and on top of it all…your car won’t start! Even though you may feel like you are the only one having a mental breakdown, stress is a part of daily life.
Stress is your body’s reaction to life’s challenges. Small amounts of stress are good for you, but long-term stress can cause a variety of health problems including depression, anxiety, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
In order to keep your stress hormones at healthy levels, try incorporating some of the following tips into your daily schedule:
1. Relax: Taking the proper steps to relax your body is the first step you can take to combatting stress. Take deep breaths; stretch and massage tense muscles. When your body feels less tense, your mind can start to function more clearly. In addition, set some time aside to do an activity that you enjoy. Whether it’s reading a book or going to a movie, scheduling a block of “me-time” can go a long way to reducing stress.
2. Develop a new attitude: Take the time to get yourself organized. Try making a list of the things that cause you stress. Is there anything you can solve now? Prioritize your “to-dos” and work on crossing those items off your list. Also, don’t be afraid to set limits. If you have too much on your plate, it is okay to say “no” to people.
3. Take care of your body: Getting enough sleep, eating right and exercising are all vital components to keeping your stress hormones at a normal level. The average adult needs seven to nine hours of sleep per night to feel rested and ready to go the next day. Instead of reaching for the chips after a stressful day, fuel up on fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains. These foods will give you a longer energy boost to complete the rest of your day. You should also avoid dealing with stress in unhealthy ways. This includes drinking too much alcohol, using drugs, smoking or overeating.
4. Connect with others: One of the best ways to cope with your stress is to simply talk about it. Talking to family members and friends can help you realize that everyone experiences stress in their lives. If you feel that you may need professional help, talk to your doctor. They may suggest counseling or prescribe medication. Finally, volunteering in your community can help you meet new people and feel better about yourself.
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