Medical research shows that stress management – controlling the reaction to external sources of stress – can make a difference in how you think, feel and relate to others. The top stress relievers include the following:
Exercise – the number one stress reducer. Regular, moderate exercise keeps your heart and lungs fit, lowers your blood pressure, and increases endorphin production – the feel-good chemicals.
Stop smoking, limit or abstain from alcohol, and limit caffeine from all sources. All three drugs – nicotine, alcohol and caffeine – increase physical stress.
Connect with other people. Develop a circle of friends and have at least one trusted friend or family member to whom you can reveal your deepest, darkest thoughts.
Eat a nutritious, balanced diet and maintain a healthy body weight.
Keep a positive outlook about your life and your future. If you tend toward the negative, take charge of your thoughts.
Commit to quiet time, meditation, or prayer every day to help put life in perspective. Spend some time every day in something you enjoy, something fun. The combination – quiet time and fun – will help to balance your life.
Relax! Find ways to practice relaxation, such as deep breathing or muscle tension and release.
Talk about your feelings. Expressing emotions of fear, worry, and anger will reduce the negative impact of those feelings on your body and your mind.
Dream, set goals, and plan. Hold onto ambition, direction and structure and you have a better chance at living a life you want.