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10 ways to de-stress

Constant stress - whether from a traffic-choked daily commute, unhappy marriage or heavy workload - can have real physical effects on the body. It has been linked to a wide range of health issues, including mood, sleep and appetite problems.

10 Things You Can Do To De-Stress

  1. Stay positive. Laughter really is the best medicine. Laughter has been found to lower levels of stress hormones, tension as well as improve blood flow and the health of your heart.

  2. Unplug. It's impossible to escape stress when it follows you everywhere. Cut the cord. Avoid emails and TV news. Take time each day - even if it's for just 10 or 15 minutes - to escape from the world.

  3. Physical Activity. Exercise is one of the best stress relievers out there. But, not everyone will take the time or have the motivation to commit to a strict workout routine. However, going for a short walk can release endorphins that reduce anxiety, increase energy levels and improve mood.

  4. Be thankful. Showing thanks for your family, friends and loved ones and being thankful for the positive aspects of your life has a calming effect. Not only does it give your perspective, it also makes other people feel good.

  5. Meditate. If you haven't tried meditation or relaxation exercises yet, there's no better time to start. Meditation can lower stress, anxiety and chronic pain as well as improve sleep, energy levels and mood.

  6. Diet. The benefits of eating healthy foods extend beyond your waistline to your mental health. A healthy diet can lessen the effects of stress, build up your immune system, improve your mood, and lower your blood pressure. Lots of added sugar and fat can have the opposite effect. And junk food can seem even more appealing when you are under a lot of stress.

  7. Get enough sleep. Stress can cause you to have trouble falling asleep. When you have too much to do and too much to think about, your sleep can suffer. But sleep is the time when your brain and body recharge. And the quality and amount of sleep you get can affect your mood, energy level, concentration and overall functioning. If you have sleep troubles, make sure that you have a quiet, relaxing bedtime routine, listen to soothing music, put clocks away and stick to a consistent schedule.

  8. Create boundaries and learn to say NO. Not all stressors are within your control, but some are. Putting too much on your plate may increase your stress load and limit the amount of time you can spend on self-care. Taking control over your personal life may help reduce stress and protect your mental health. Being selective about what you take on and saying `NO` to unnecessarily things, can reduce your stress levels.

  9. Practice deep breathing. The goal of deep breathing is to focus your awareness on your breath, making it slower and deeper. When you breathe in deeply through your nose, your lungs fully expand and your belly rises. This helps slow your heart rate, allowing you to feel at peace.

  10. Be your own cheerleader. Make a list of positive statements or affirmations about yourself. You will boost self-esteem and feel more competent by reviewing some positive self-talk instead of tuning into the negative self-talk and doubt that usually accompanies stress or anxiety.


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