Stress and your health
Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension. It can come from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous.
Stress is your body's reaction to a challenge or demand. In short bursts, stress can be positive, such as when it helps you avoid danger or meet a deadline. But when stress lasts for a long time, it may harm your health.
Stress is a normal feeling. There are two main types of stress:
- Acute stress. This is short-term stress that goes away quickly. You feel it when you slam on the brakes, have a fight with your partner, or ski down a steep slope. It helps you manage dangerous situations. It also occurs when you do something new or exciting. All people have acute stress at one time or another.
- Chronic stress. This is stress that lasts for a longer period of time. You may have chronic stress if you have money problems, an unhappy relationship, or trouble at work. Any type of stress that goes on for weeks or months is chronic stress. You can become so used to chronic stress that you don't realize it is a problem. If you don't find ways to manage stress, it may lead to health problems.
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Working out regularly is one of the best ways to relax your body and mind. Plus, exercise will improve your mood. But you have to do it often for it to pay off.
So how much should you exercise every week?
Work up to 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise like brisk walks or 75 minutes of a more vigorous exercise like swimming laps, jogging or other sports.
Focus on setting fitness goals you can meet so you don’t give up. Most of all remember that doing any exercise is better than none at all.
3. Deep Breathing
Stopping and taking a few deep breaths can take the pressure off you right away. You’ll be surprised how much better you feel once you get good at it. Just follow these 5 steps:
- Sit in a comfortable position with your hands in your lap and your feet on the floor. Or you can lie down.
- Close your eyes.
- Imagine yourself in a relaxing place. It can be on the beach, in a beautiful field of grass, or anywhere that gives you a peaceful feeling.
- Slowly take deep breaths in and out.
- Do this for 5 to 10 minutes at a time.
4. Eat Well
Eating a regular, well-balanced diet will help you feel better in general. It may also help control your moods. Your meals should be full of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and lean protein for energy. And don’t skip any. It’s not good for you and can put you in a bad mood, which can actually increase your stress
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5. Slow Down
Modern life is so busy, and sometimes we just need to slow down and chill out. Look at your life and find small ways you can do that. For example:
- Set your watch 5 to 10 minutes ahead. That way you’ll get places a little early and avoid the stress of being late.
- When you’re driving on the highway, switch to the slow lane so you can avoid road rage.
- Break down big jobs into smaller ones. For example, don’t try to answer all 100 emails if you don’t have to -- just answer a few of them.
8. Talk About Your Problems
If things are bothering you, talking about them can help lower your stress. You can talk to family members, friends, a trusted clergyman, your doctor, or a therapist.
And you can also talk to yourself. It’s called self-talk and we all do it. But in order for self-talk to help reduce stress you need to make sure it’s positive and not negative.
So listen closely to what you’re thinking or saying when you’re stressed out. If you’re giving yourself a negative message, change it to a positive one. For example, don’t tell yourself “I can’t do this.” Tell yourself instead: “I can do this,” or “I’m doing the best I can.”
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