Everyone has stress, because life isn’t something we totally control. The question is: Are you managing your stress, or has it mastered you? The answer matters a lot for your health. If you’re stressed you become more vulnerable to colds, flu, headaches, and insomnia; and over time you are at risk for stomaches, high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, and other chronic illnesses.
Here are a few tips to help decrease stress:
- Eat healthy. Avoid too much sugar. Focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. When you’re stressed, you’ll probably want less-nutritious comfort foods, but if you overdo them, they’ll add to your problems.
- Exercise regularly. You’ll feel better and be more prepared to handle problems.
- Learn and practice relaxation techniques. Try breathing exercises, meditation, prayer, yoga, or tai chi.
- Get enough rest and sleep. Your body needs time to recover from stressful events.
- Don’t rely on alcohol, drugs, or food to help against stress. Ease up on caffeine, too.
- Spend time with people you love. Hugging and laughing are excellent relaxing therapies.
- Try to manage your time wisely. Procrastinating adds more stress to your life. Break down larger projects into smaller steps. Plan ahead.
- Make time for hobbies and interests.
- Talk with a counselor or take a stress management class for more help.
How do you manage stress? Share your tips with us!