Prevention in action
It’s important to learn how to recognize how stress affects you, learn how to deal with it, and develop healthy habits to ease your stress. What is stressful to one person may not be to another. Stress can come from happy events (a new marriage, job promotion, new home) as well as unhappy events (illness, overwork, family problems).
What is stress?
Stress is your body’s response to change. The body reacts to it by releasing adrenaline (a hormone) that causes your breathing and heart rate to speed up, and your blood pressure to rise. These reactions help you deal with the situation. The problems come when stress is constant (chronic) and your body remains in high gear, off and on, for days or weeks at a time. Chronic stress may cause an increase in heart rate and blood pressure.
Not all stress is bad. Speaking to a group or watching a close football game can be stressful, but they can be fun, too. The key is to manage stress properly. Unhealthy responses to stress may lead to health problems in some people.
Tips to manage stress
Stress affects each of us in different ways. You may have physical signs, emotional signs or both. Taking steps to manage stress will help you feel more in control of your life. Read on to learn more about stress and heart disease and ways to cope.
Few things you can do to get started:
1. Take a deep breath. Carve out time for meditation, deep breathing, yoga or tai chi, crank up some tunes or go for a short walk. Whatever activity you find calming, find the time to do it every day for at least 15 minutes.
2. Give up your vices. Overdoing it with alcohol or caffeine can put stress into overdrive, so try to cut back as much as possible. If you smoke, you already know it’s a bad habit. Drop it. We know quitting isn’t easy, so don’t be afraid to ask for help.
3. Burn some steam. Give your endorphins a boost with regular physical activity. Exercise relieves mental and physical tension, and anyone who has experienced runner’s high knows what we mean. Not to mention, physically active adults have a lower risk of depression and function better mentally. Try walking, swimming, biking or another form of cardio every day.
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