There are many reasons to learn how to manage your daily stress, mostly because stress generally disrupts our day. But the physical symptoms of stress may be causing bigger problems than just a distraction. This Monday is a perfect opportunity to start incorporating a few simple practices into your day that can stop stress before it affects your physical health.
February is American Heart Month and it’s good to be aware of how stress affects heart health. Your body reacts to stress by releasing adrenaline, which can increase your heart rate and blood pressure. Left unmanaged, that can lead to damage to your cardiovascular system. Other coping behaviors that may be less healthy choices – such as drinking, smoking, or overeating – can lead to heart-related problems.
However, there are easy ways to stop stress in its tracks before it can cause you or your heart any problems. Once you have identified a stressful situation, try to find a way to step aside for a moment. All you need is a quiet minute by yourself to take a few deep breaths and clear your head. If you can, sit in a chair or lean against a wall and close your eyes. As you breathe in and out, repeat the words “in” and “out” to correspond with your breath. Make this your only focus for at least a minute. You can also use a visual aid to help you change your focus from your stress to calm.
In the long-term, there are plenty of ways to remedy your stress that are also beneficial for heart health. One of the most reliable ways to relieve stress is with exercise. Even moderate physical activity like a brisk walk can help move your mind away from stress while conditioning your cardiovascular system. If you can’t get away to take a walk, you can still relieve muscle tension with some stretches at your desk or in a chair.
Stress may be part of your everyday life, but by learning a few simple techniques, you can take steps to improve your mood and your health. Remember to let yourself have a moment – take a deep breath, take a walk if you can, and return to your day once your mind is clear. Start taking care of your stress on Monday and you’ll breeze through the rest of the week!