Stress Awareness Month

The month of April brings awareness to the effects of stress in our life. We all experience it, that all too common rise in our blood pressure, our hands may sweat, our head pounds, the muscles in our neck and shoulders beginning to ache. April is recognized as National Stress Awareness Month. The overall theme of Stress awareness is to focus on you: your breathing, your muscles, your priorities. While stress can be triggered by a myriad of things, and is dependent on the person, stress is most often caused by a person’s job or by sudden changes in one’s personal life. However, stress can also be caused by our feelings and emotions, such as fear and uncertainty, attitudes and perceptions, unrealistic expectations, and change. According to the American Institute of Stress, about 90% of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress related disorders, ranging from stomach trouble to heart disease.

Here are six tips for a healthier lifestyle.

Learn 5 ways to de-stress and help your heart

Stay positive. Laughter has been found to lower levels of stress hormones, reduce inflammation in the arteries, and increase “good” HDL cholesterol.

Meditate. This practice of inward-focused thought and deep breathing has been shown to reduce heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure. Meditation’s close relatives, yoga and prayer, can also relax the mind and body.

Exercise. Every time you are physically active, whether you take a walk or play tennis, your body releases mood-boosting chemicals called endorphins. Exercising not only melts away stress, it also protects against heart disease by lowering your blood pressure, strengthening your heart muscle, and helping you maintains a healthy weight.

Unplug. It’s impossible to escape stress when it follows you everywhere. Cut the cord. Avoid emails and TV news. Take time each day — even if it’s for just 10 or 15 minutes — to escape from the world.

Find ways to take the edge off your stress. Simple things, like a warm bath, listening to music, or spending time on a favorite hobby, can give you a much-needed break from the stressors in your life. Experts also suggest slowing down and taking the time to do something you love, such as taking a walk, reading a book, or having a cup of tea. This April, instead of letting stress dictate your life, become aware of your triggers and begin to make small changes that can have a lasting impact on your health and happiness.


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