It’s Monday morning and your to-do list is longer than ever. You
feel a tightening in your chest because all this work is just overwhelming.
But what you may not realize is that all that stress is actually increasing
your risk of having a stroke. According to statistics, 800,000 people
will experience a stroke in America each year, and stress is one of the
known contributors. So, it’s time to get that pressure in check!
Here are five tips to help manage your stress and maintain a healthy,
Research has shown that as little as five minutes of meditation per day
can help to lower your stress levels. By bringing your attention to your
breathing and taking a moment to let go of the chaos around you, you will
be able to relax those tensed neck and brain muscles and gain a new perspective
on stressful situations. Meditation has been known to provide a wealth
of other emotional benefits including reducing negative emotions, increasing
self-awareness and helping you stay focused on the present. Some research
also suggests that it holds greater physical healing abilities and has
been known to relieve the symptoms of anxiety disorders, asthma, high
blood pressure, heart disease, depression and cancer.
Massage is a known relaxant that helps to release negative energy and soothe
the tension buildup that comes with anxiety and stress. It also reduces
the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in the blood and prompts the
brain to produce dopamine, the chemical responsible for making us feel
happy. If you’re feeling stressed, take a moment to massage the
areas where you feel the most tension such as your neck and shoulders.
Also, try massaging your hands by pressing your thumbs into your palms
and moving them in circular motions. Practice doing this for a minimum
of two minutes every hour and you will be delightfully surprised by how
relaxed you feel, even at the end of a very stressful day.
Spend time with friends.
Human beings are social animals that need interaction to maintain a healthy
emotional balance. Whether it's talking to a friend, or curling up
with the office cat, by just taking time for yourself to engage in non-work
related activities, you will be shifting your focus away from the cause
of your stress and engaging the part of your brain that yearns for social
interaction. Throughout your day, plan small breaks in to your schedule.
Chat to a colleague, or go outside and watch the squirrels scuttle about.
These simple actions can help your brain reboot, and you will find that
even after just five minutes, you feel revived and are actually twice
There is no better stress eliminator than exercise. Activities that are
rhythmic and engage your legs and arms have been known to effectively
help manage stress. Walking, running, swimming and dancing for as little
as 20 minutes a day is a great way to get in your daily dose of activity
and help diminish those stress levels. Exercise engages our body and our
minds and has the added benefit of helping to maintain a healthy heart.
So take the time to do those physical activities you love. If you have
a dog, take him out for walk. If not, why not put on your favorite music
streaming service or CD and boogie that stress away. You may find that
not only do you feel more relaxed, but also happy and content.
Analyze and alter.
Take the time to think about what it is that causes you the most stress
and how you can potentially alter your settings to reduce it. It will
be tempting to say things like “I just have too much work to do,”
or “there just isn’t enough time in the day,” but while
this may be true, it’s likely there is more to it than that. By
taking the time to examine it more closely you may find something as simple
as removing the clutter from your desk, tidying your desktop or adding
some colorful art onto the walls of an otherwise dull space will really
help to lift your mood. But, if you do find that there really and truly
is “just too much to do,” then it may be worth getting help
or reassessing your job, after all your heart, health and happiness depends on it.
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical
care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.