Breathe in. Breathe out. Count to 10. Stretch your neck. Scream into a pillow. Does any of this sound familiar? These are some of my favorite stress-relieving strategies, which to be honest, I use on a daily basis. And since stress can be linked to some serious health issues – heart attacks being one of them – it’s important to find ways to stay calm. Check out a few of these tips to help fight stress this week.
It sounds silly, but keeping a positive mindset actually goes a long way. According to the American Heart Association, positive self-talk helps you calm down and control stress. For example, they recommend you change things from “I can’t do this” to “I’ll do the best I can. I’ve got this.” “I hate it when this happens” to “I know how to deal with this; I’ve done it before.”
Form healthy habits
The best way to fight stress is to combat it with healthy habits, like working out and eating a healthy diet. According to the Mayo Clinic, “virtually any form of physical activity can act as a stress reliever.” This is because exercise can pump up your feel-good endorphins and other natural chemicals that enhance your sense of well-being, as well as refocusing your mind on your body’s movements in order to improve your mood and help the day’s irritations disappear. You can walk, garden, clean house, go bike riding, go swimming or lift weights for example. Additionally, eating a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables and whole grains will help you to feel better, as well as lowering your caffeine, alcohol and sugar intake.
Do something you love
Reading is one of my favorite things to do – anytime I got lost in a good book my stress instantly fades away. The American Heart Association says that doing something you enjoy is a natural way to relieve stress. Some examples include: making art, listening to music, working on a scrapbook, meeting a friend for coffee, playing a sport, sewing, playing with your kids or pets, watching a movie, taking a walk in nature, taking a relaxing bath, practicing yoga or meditation, and reading a book.
Just because things are hard right now does not mean that you have to live with stress. If you really can’t fight stress, talk to your doctor or therapist about ways to help. We all deserve to be happy!