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Stress: Taking Control of Stress

Experts tell us that reducing stress is critical for maintaining good health. High stress levels can make you susceptible to illness, and prolonged stress can contribute to ailments including heart disease, high blood pressure, migraines, ulcers, insomnia and muscle tension.

And besides the health risks it promotes, stress makes us irritated, agitated, short-tempered and generally not much fun to be around. So take stock of your stress… find out where it’s coming from. Are you stressed about your job, your kids, your marriage, your health? Are you stressed about external pressures, things over which you have no control – for instance, the economy, societal pressures or the expectations of others?

Once you’ve identified your stressors, there are some immediate things you can do to help calm yourself:

- Get moving… literally. Stand up, walk around – sometimes taking a brief, brisk walk can significantly de-stress you. If you can’t take a walk, then shake it off. Extend your arms and imagine that you’re a soggy wet dog. Give your arms and legs a vigorous shake. Thirty minutes of moderate exercise daily can help you keep stress at bay.

- Smile… Laughter really is good medicine. Research has shown that laughter reduces the level of stress hormones like cortisol, epinephrine (or adrenaline), dopamine and growth hormone. In addition, laughter increases the level of health-enhancing hormones like endorphins and neurotransmitters. It boosts antibody-producing cells and enhances the effectiveness of T cells – and it helps promote a stronger immune system. So make sure you make time for some fun in your life. Tell a joke, watch a funny video, spend time with friends who delight you, read an amusing story… smile… laugh… and maintain a sense of humor. It’s good for your health!

- Go to your happy place… Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and settle in for a five-minute vacation in your mind. Think of a quiet, tranquil place. Maybe it’s an actual location or perhaps is a spot you’ve created in your imagination. Engage your senses and see, feel, smell and touch the surroundings in your peaceful place. You might want to pray or reflect on you’re thankful for. Spend a few minutes there, and come back refreshed!

Need more stress saving advice? Click here.

Medical information within this site is not intended for use in the diagnosis or treatment of any health condition. Please consult a licensed health care professional for the treatment or diagnosis of any medical condition.

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© 2014 Family First. All Rights Reserved. Family First, All Pro Dad, iMOM, and Family Minute with Mark Merrill are registered trademarks.