6 healthy ways to deal with stress

Stress can have serious impacts on your overall health. There are ways to reduce stress levels, especially in certain tense situations. Here are some suggestions.

6 healthy ways to deal with stress

1. Walk away.

Anytime  you can feel your heart rate rising due to stress or anger, excuse yourself from the situation and do what it takes to recover. Breathe deeply, think positive thoughts, go outside, have some cold water,  and remind yourself you are in control. Re–enter the situation only when you know you can handle it calmly and positively. You'll not only help your health but also prevent challenging situations from deteriorating further.

2. Just choose no.

There's an old expression: "Don't take the bait." It means that when given the opportunity to get angry or stressed, choose not to. The next time someone does something that would typically anger you or increase your stress, choose not to react that way. Over time, you can teach yourself an amazing amount of healthy self-restraint, even in the face of constant pressure. Not only will you improve your health, but you'll also be in a better mind-set to successfully deal with the underlying issue.

3. Make yourself laugh.

Start by smiling. Then say "ha, ha, ha." Then think about how ridiculous you look and get out a real laugh. Laughter helps shut down your body's stress response, cutting off the release of harmful stress hormones. When researchers compared people who received an hour of quiet time to those who had an hour of humour and laughter, they found the laughter group showed significant drops in blood levels of several key stress hormones, while the group sitting quietly had no change.

4. Go for the sugar.

When stress hits, let an ounce of dark chocolate or some other sweet treat dissolve in your mouth. Just make sure it's made with real sugar, not corn syrup or other sweeteners. Studies find that a quick sugary treat can reduce stress hormone levels after a stressful event without increasing weight.

5. Turn on Beethoven.

People who feel stressed are more likely to listen to music than they are to do anything else, including eating, crying or sleeping. Who can blame them? Numerous studies find that listening to music during stressful situations reduces stress hormones. Our advice is to skip the rock 'n' roll and stick with the classics. One study comparing Mozart to New Age music found people listening to classical music relaxed more and reported greater levels of "mental quiet," "awe and wonder," and "mystery."

6. Clean a closet.

There is simply nothing that puts more control into your life than cleaning up a mess you encounter frequently.

Stress can be caused by many factors, but recognizing when that stress is getting too much and what to do about it to calm yourself is a large step in the direction to a healthier you.

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