Sources of stress are everywhere. We all are affected at some point. Some of us have financial worries, concerns about the future, or stress that involves our jobs or relationships.
Whatever the source, the results of stress are much the same. It can lower the body's immune system, increasing susceptibility to illness. It also may worsen or contribute to some health conditions.
Try and focus on the things you enjoy, and use these tips to help cope with everyday stress:
- Try some deep breathing. Take a slow, deep breath. Hold it for five seconds. Then, slowly exhale. Breathe through your nose and count slowly, focusing on the rhythm of your breathing. As you exhale, feel the stress flow out of your body. Repeat as necessary. Do not hold your breath if you are pregnant, have a heart or lung problem or are in frail health.
- Take a mental health break. Make some time each day to devote to yourself. Sometimes even 10 to 30 minutes really can help. Read a book, write in a journal or soak in a warm bath. Or, participate in a hobby you enjoy, such as gardening, painting or fishing.
- Remove the clutter in your life. Clean out your closet. If you haven't worn it in years, get rid of it. Clean your house, garage and workspace often.
- Plan ahead. When commuting, allow more time to get where you're going. Factor in time for traffic or other delays. Then, you'll be more relaxed when you get to work or your appointments.
- Laughter is the best medicine. Find what makes you laugh. It could be as simple as watching "I Love Lucy" reruns or listening to your favorite comedian. When you're laughing, you don't have time to be stressed out. Don't take yourself too seriously – learning to laugh at yourself may change the way stress affects your life.
- Be good to your body. Regular exercise can help direct your attention away from daily stress. It may contribute to a feeling of mental well-being. Eating a low-fat, low-sugar diet, with plenty of fruits and vegetables, can boost your physical and mental health as well.
- Create peaceful mental images. Picture yourself on the top of a scenic mountain; in a green, lush forest; your favorite vacation spot; or any place calming for you. Try a CD with sound effects, and relax to waves lapping on a shore or gently falling rain.
- Develop a positive attitude. Try to view negative situations in a positive way. Practice self-talk that emphasizes an "I can" attitude and avoid telling yourself "I should" or "I ought to."