5 Ways to Manage Stress to Protect Your Health


Are you stressed out? If you’re like most people, there’s a lot going on with work, family, travel, vacations, shopping, and the everyday stuff. Right?

So what should you do when you’re stressed out?

Don’t ignore it. Too much stress increases your risk for a long list of chronic health conditions, according to Harvard University.

Stressed out? Here are FIVE things you can do to manage your stress:

1. Learn to recognize the signs of stress

Instead of just trying to put on a happy face, pay attention to how you’re feeling. Stress can come in many forms, like:

  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Body aches and pains
  • Forgetfulness
  • Weight gain
  • Overeating or drinking too much

Stress is a normal part of life. And some stress can actually motivate you to get things done, like meet a work deadline or get the house cleaned before guests arrive.

Stop a minute to recognize when you’re stressed out, then do something about it.

2. Be active

Just 20 to 30 minutes of daily walking, yoga, or other exercise can improve your mood as well as physical health.

  • It burns up stress hormones, and stimulates the mind to help you relax and think better about your problems.

3. Breathe

It might sound too simple during a hectic or stressful day, but it really works. Try it:

  • Take 10 deep breaths.
  • Inhale, then exhale…slowly.

Deep breathing has a calming effect that can reduce stressful feelings such as anger, anxiety, and fear. Making this a regular habit can also help lower blood pressure and increase your energy level.

4. Get your Zzzs

You might be tempted to stay up late to get work done or “relax” and skimp on sleep. But when you don’t get enough sleep, hormones linked to stress go up. This can lead to:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Mood swings, and…
  • Other health problems.

Aim to sleep 7 to 8 hours a night.

  • If that’s a challenge, take a nap during the day too.
  • Adequate sleep can help reduce stress and restore the body to a relaxed state.

5. Choose healthy lifestyle habits

There’s more than one way to manage stress in your life. Regular exercise, good sleep, and deep breathing can help.

Here are some other ways to manage your stress and improve your health:

  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Spend time with family and friends.
  • Read a book.
  • Laugh more.
  • And make time for a hobby you enjoy.

If you’re always stressed out, talk to your doctor or ask a professional for help. You’ll feel better and live longer.