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Help Kick Stress to the Curb

Everybody deals with stress at some point or another, and it almost seems to be a given—nay, a badge of honor—in the modern world.

While stress can have an immediate and tangible impact on your body, if it goes on too long, it can also lead to long-term effects such as lack of sleep, headaches, high blood pressure, and a weakening of the immune system. For National Stress Awareness Month, here are some tips to help you alleviate the tension:
  • Meditate and breathe: A few “oms” can actually change your brain; even a couple of minutes of meditation can be beneficial.1 If you don’t know where to begin, download a guided meditation app that lets you zone out or find a comfortable chair in a relaxing space and repeat your chosen mantra. Also, the deep breathing you can do during meditation has been shown to decrease stress hormones.2
  • Focus on the present: Whether it’s trying not to worry about that silly thing you said to someone back in high school or what might happen a year down the line, living in the now can help alleviate stress.
  • Be kind to yourself: Your mindset matters, especially if you tend to be your own worst critic. If you can’t seem to muster up something good to tell yourself, ask your friends and family to give you a little nudge in the right direction.
  • Give back: Volunteer for a local organization that means something to you. Studies have shown that volunteering can help with both mental and physical health.3
  • Exercise: Not only does exercise get your blood moving, but non-competitive aerobic activity has been shown to release endorphins – your body’s built-in mood-lifter.4 Whether it’s as simple as stretching and yoga for inner peace or kickboxing for your outer tough guy (or gal), regular exercise can be a great way to manage stress.
  • Take a social media break: Comparing yourself to the carefully curated lives of others can lead to more stress and discontentment.5 It might help to step away from the screen for a bit or, at least, limit your time.
  • Remove yourself from the stressful situation: Feeling your blood pressure rise? If you can, take a quick walk around the office or even around the block.
  • Get a furry friend: Owning a pet is generally linked to lower stress.
  • Make time to do something you enjoy: Whether it’s a cooking class you’ve been wanting to take, a fun art project, gardening, or outdoor activities with your kids, prioritize the things you love to do.
  • Write it, sing it, talk it, laugh it out: use whatever means necessary, but finding a positive outlet for letting stress out can beat holding it in.  
We can’t stress this enough (pun intended): in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, it’s important to not only identify stress triggers but also to identify ways to help lower it.

1 Walton, A. G. “7 Ways Meditation Can Actually Change The Brain.” Forbes.com. 9 February 2015. Web.
2 Cuda, G. “Just Breathe: Body has a Built-In Stress Reliever.” NPR.org. 6 December 2010. Web.
3 Watson, S. “Volunteering may be good for body and mind.” Harvard Health Publishing, October 2015. Web.
4 “Exercise and stress: get moving to manage stress.” Healthy Lifestyle: Stress management. Mayo Clinic, 8 March 2018. Web.
5 Hampton, Keith, Weixu Lu, Inyoung Shin, and Kristen Purcell. Psychological Stress and Social Media Use. Rep. Social Media and the Cost of Caring. Pew Research Center, 2015. Web.

 

Posted on April 17, 2018 in Health & Wellbeing Wellness

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