For most Americans, stress has become an everyday part of life. Between pressures at work, responsibilities at home and expectations from friends, it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed.
But research shows stress can be just as detrimental to a person’s health as poor diet or lack of exercise, especially because stress tends to have a negative effect on these habits. Stress also exacerbates other health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, asthma, headaches, depression, and anxiety.
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So, in honor of today being National Stress Awareness Day and April is National Stress Awareness Month, take a moment to think about your own stress level and try integrating these six things into your life to start alleviating it:
1. Focus on Zen Time – Try dedicating time just for relaxation, when you can clear your mind, maybe with yoga, meditation, a bubble bath or even just sitting outside.
2. Just Breathe – It’s great to set time aside but sometimes that’s not possible. So in high-stress moments, try closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths. The best part is – you can do it anywhere.
3. Stop Sweating Small Stuff – It’s important not to invite extra stress into your life. Try not to get too emotionally invested into things that don’t directly affect you. Research shows that even events like sports games can be adding unneeded stress.
4. Get Connected – Spending too much time on your own can make you feel isolated and add to your stress. So be sure to connect with friends and laugh a lot, something that always decreases stress levels.
5. Work It Out – It’s hard, but exercise really works! Be sure to get your blood flowing so you feel better, no matter if that means hitting the gym, going for a run, walking outside, dancing around the house or tending a garden.
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6. Seek Help – It’s important to recognize a low level of stress can be manageable but it’s causing anxiety or depression, seek a medical professional immediately for help.