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8 Tips for Stress Management

As heart disease remains the leading cause of death among Americans, it’s not surprising that health care professionals understand the importance of stress management. April has been designated as Stress Awareness Month since 1992 in an effort to educate people on the risks of long-term stress, as well as offer helpful tips to reduce stress and increase inner peace and happiness.

Common consequences of high levels of stress include:

  • Headaches
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Muscle tension
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain
  • Upset stomach
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Lack of motivation or focus
  • Irritability
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Social withdrawal

Possible illnesses that can occur as a result of long-term stress:

  • Stomach disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke

A lot of people encounter stress every day, with stress triggers ranging from finances and work, to a busy schedule and everything in between. We can’t control the world around us, but we can control how we deal with our challenges and how they affect our physiological and psychological states.

Here are eight stress management tips for when life feels overwhelming.

1. Exercise

When you’re feeling stressed, let off some steam by participating in your favorite exercises (such as yoga, hiking, kickboxing or weightlifting) or head to your gym for a good run or a fitness class. You’ll feel better afterward. This works because exercising produces endorphins, which are chemicals that make us feel better.

2. Meditate

Peaceful meditation can be a great tool for stress management. (If you’ve never meditated before, there are places in San Diego that will teach you for free.) When you meditate, it frees you from your thoughts. Meditation requires stillness and utilizes breathing techniques that can make you feel tranquil while lowering your risk of heart disease.

3. Unplug

Technology is an amazing tool, but sometimes we need to unplug to focus on ourselves and our world around us at that very moment. When you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, take at least 10 minutes to relax without a TV, cell phone, tablet or computer. Your mind and body will feel more refreshed.

4. Go on vacation

It is psychologically beneficial to take breaks from work and daily life by going on vacations. If you’re unable to get away from work, then plan to spend a weekend somewhere that makes you happy and will reduce stress. The excited anticipation you will have about planned vacations should also help to lower the stress on bad days.

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5. Listen to music

When we listen to music that we enjoy, it can help reduce stress. There have been studies that show that music, ranging from heavy metal to Mozart, can lower blood pressure and reduce the stress hormone cortisol. So next time you’re feeling stressed, turn on the tunes!

6. Declutter

Organizing and cleaning your home or workspace will help relieve stress. Decluttering will make you feel productive and more in control, and will also provide great relief. It is also a practice that may help you to declutter your thoughts.

7. Visit the Encinitas Meditation Gardens

The Self-Realization Fellowship Encinitas Temple is a gorgeous, tranquil place, with narrow pathways twisting through plants, colorful flowers and koi ponds, ultimately leading to benches. It’s easy to forget stress surrounded by the breathtaking views of the ocean, the calming sounds of the koi ponds and the peacefulness of other visitors meditating.

8. Visit Mission Bay Park

Although it is the largest aquatic park in the U.S., with more than 4,000 acres and 27 miles of shoreline, there are sections of this park that are serene (although probably not on a holiday). If you enter Mission Bay Park from Clairemont Drive and head south on East Mission Bay Drive, there are several parking lots adjacent to quiet, grassy areas. Watch people as they stroll by, gaze into the bay or lay on a blanket in the shade beneath a tree and feel stress melt away.

Other tips to relieve stress:

  • Create cushions in your schedule to prevent the feeling of being rushed
  • Get more sleep
  • Routinely meet up with friends or schedule phone calls with them
  • Chew on gum or chocolate
  • Hug a friend or loved one
  • Get massages regularly
  • Play with your or a family member’s pets
  • Sip on hot tea
  • Stretch every day

Stress is an inevitable part of life, but effective stress management will make you happier and healthier person. Discover more tips on how to better take care of your mind and body at scrippsamg.com.

CATEGORIES: Managing IllnessParentingSeniors & Caregivers

 

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