Are you stressed? Chances are yes. The American Psychological Association reports that 75% of Americans are experiencing moderate to high levels of stress on a regular basis and that the level of stress is increasing each year. Heart disease, cancer and other illnesses are linked to stress.
Here are 10 ways to tackle the stress in your life to keep yourself healthy:
1. Make “you” time. We all need a chance to recharge our batteries. Some of us recharge with friends over dinner, some by ourselves with our Netflix account. Whatever does it for you. I find that scheduling this time is essential. You schedule everything else, so why not a night just for you?
2. Keep a positive attitude. It’s always easier to be negative and see the glass half empty. Instead, take a minute to reflect and have a grateful heart. I am thankful that I get another day to be alive on this Earth. Usually pausing and taking a step back to realize that this too shall pass helps me put it all in perspective.
3. Have a support network. Our family is what we make of it.
Surround yourself with people to bring you up, not drag you down. Take the time to foster the relationships in your life that are important. Make work friends that share your values and attitude, then lean on them when times are tough. Foster intimacy with your partner and have meaningful conversations.
4. Take 15. I find a lot can be helped by taking 15 minutes to take a break. Sometimes you just need to close your office door, play a game on your phone, take deep breaths, go on a walk or get a cup of coffee. After your break, you'll be able to come back to the situation with a fresh mind.
5. Relaxation techniques. Thank goodness for the many deep breathing, relaxation, and meditation apps available to us at our fingertips! Use these apps when times are tough. You can also practice deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation or visualization to help with the stress.
6. Time management. Much of our stress can be eliminated or reduced by being organized and on top of our schedules. Instead of waiting last minute to throw together some lunches each day or grabbing fast food, complete your food prep on Sunday night. Keep a calendar of what is going on, and stick to it.
7. Eat well. Easier said than done. We are a society on the move and sometimes so is our diet. Incorporate more fruits and veggies, stay out of drive-thrus, and drink more water. Little changes add up.
8. Exercise. Another tip that’s easier said than done. It doesn’t have to be a marathon, but getting exercise is crucial to your health and well-being. Walk the dog, take the stairs instead of the elevator, even walk around the mall! It’s a two-for-one if you bring someone from your support system!
9. Make a move. This is going to sound harsh, but we aren’t going to be around forever. Hate your job? Look for something else. If you die someone else will have that job. We only get one life. Are you living it how you want?
10. Laugh. When all else fails, laugh. Life has so many opportunities for us to enjoy each day. Laughter actually is the best medicine as it helps your immune system and improves your mood. So go ahead, laugh out loud.
Sarah Klena is a blogger, educator and runner living in Orlando, Florida. After surviving a massive widow maker heart attack at the age of 31, she has made heart disease awareness her mission. Through her blog Heart Attack at 31, work with the American Heart Association and speaking engagements, she tells her story and motivates others to take care of their hearts. Her story has been featured in Good Housekeeping magazine, The Dr Oz show and in numerous online publications.
Main Photo Credit: KieferPix/Shutterstock.com; Second Photo Credit: Syda Productions/Shutterstock.com