By managing your stress, you’ll not only be happier but healthier too. Many common health problems can be avoided by simply managing stress. Heart disease, asthma, headaches, depression, obesity, gastrointestinal problems and even Alzheimer’s disease are all health issues that develop or worsen due to stress.
Dr. Jay Winner, MD, author of “Take the Stress Out of Your Life” and the director of the Stress Management Program for the Sansum Clinic in Santa Barbara, California, stated, “Stress doesn’t only make us feel awful emotionally… it can also exacerbate just about any health condition you can think of.”
Reducing Your Stress
The best place to start reducing stress is to figure out what is causing it. Once you have pinpointed stressors, take active measures to reduce the amount of stress they are causing.
For instance, if you simply don’t have any time to yourself between work and family, make a point to set aside time by hiring a sitter or leaving your partner in charge for a bit each day or at least a few times per week.
Stressful things can happen without any notice, so knowing what to do when you start to feel stressed is just as important as managing the stress you can control. When you begin to feel stressed, take a few minutes to breathe deeply before taking action.
Simply breathing can train your physiologic stress response and calm you internally. By doing this, you’ll have more ability to focus on the problem at hand and you’ll be better equipped to handle it.
When people become stressed, their minds tend to wander to past events or other stressors. Calming your mind and body before addressing the particular issue effectively goes a long way in reducing the amount of overall stress.
Everyone experiences days that are more stressful than others, but how you handle them can make those days better or worse. Take time to focus on the things that you are thankful for and all of the little things that make you happy.
Reminding yourself of the good things in your life can make difficult situations more manageable. When problems arise, take time to remind yourself of all the reasons you are fortunate.
Sometimes, just changing your perspective can change the dynamics of a stressful situation altogether. For example, instead of getting angry about being stuck in traffic, make the moment peaceful by realizing you actually have time to yourself without interruption and make the most of it by focusing your thoughts.