Studies have found that almost half of all adults suffer from stress-related health issues. Unrelieved stress can contribute to headaches, high blood pressure, fatigue, depression, chest pain, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. So relax! There are many activities and techniques that can help manage stress and keep it at a healthy level. Try some of these tips to help de-stress:
• Walk it off: Taking a walk can help lower stress hormones by increasing endorphins. Even walking for 10 minutes can help shed stress. When possible, stroll through a park, as natural sunlight boosts mood, and nature has been shown to help reduce stress and allow for relaxed reflection.
• Take a deep breath: Deep breathing tricks the body into feeling like it is relaxed and increases oxygen levels, helping shed tension and stress.
• Take a break: Take some time away from the phone and computer. Research has shown that continuous computer usage has been linked to depression, loss of sleep, and high levels of stress in women. Take several breaks from the computer during the day, and try to turn it off at least an hour before bed. Not surprisingly, studies have shown that cell phones (especially smart phones) increase stress as users feel pressured to answer every call, text, and email.
• Don't be so hard on yourself: Negative thoughts in reaction to a stressor can actually increase stress, but thinking positively can help calm you down and get you through each challenge. Instead of telling yourself that a task is impossible, try thinking that you will do the best you can or that you can get through it by taking the task one step at a time.
• Grab a snack: Feeling hungry puts stress on the brain, so try taking a few minutes for a small, healthy snack – like nuts or a piece of fruit – to fill up and help de-stress without overeating.
• Create a green space: Buying plants for the house or desk can help keep you calm. Research has shown that just being around plants can help lower blood pressure and help you relax. Many plants, like aloe, are also incredible air purifiers and can help filter many toxins from the air in the home or workplace.
• Just stop and listen: Listening to music you love immediately boosts dopamine levels, providing an instant pick-me-up. Classical music is particularly relaxing; it has been proven to lessen stress hormone levels and lower blood pressure and heart rates.
• Get creative: The repetitive motions involved in several crafts, like knitting and jewelry making, can be soothing and help you get rid of stress. Taking time for any creative activities you enjoy can help you relax and get your mind away from your stressors.
Increase resistance to stress by improving physical health. Make an appointment with a healthcare provider to discuss your overall health and well-being. The better you feel, the more equipped you will be to handle life's curveballs.
What percentage of doctor visits is related to stress?
A. 10-25 percent
B. 40-50 percent
C. 75-90 percent
Check your answer below.
The American Institute of Stress states that stress causes adverse health effects in 43 percent of adults and that 75 to 90 percent of visits to the doctor are related to stress. When left unchecked, stress can cause serious health problems.
St. Luke's Hospital offers stress management programs throughout the year. Visit stlukes-stl.com for class dates and times.
St. Luke’s Hospital is an independent, nonprofit healthcare provider committed to improving the quality of life for its patients and the community. In its 150-year history, St. Luke’s has grown from a single hospital location to an advanced network of care. It provides personalized healthcare services in over 60 specialty areas at its 493-bed hospital in Chesterfield, Mo. and offers 25 other locations across the greater St. Louis area, bringing quality healthcare services close to home. St. Luke’s is nationally-recognized for quality care and consistently earns high patient satisfaction scores. In addition, St. Luke’s is the exclusive St. Louis affiliate of the nation’s No. 1 heart hospital, Cleveland Clinic’s Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute. For more information, visit stlukes-stl.com.
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