HCA Midwest Health
June 15, 2016

Chronic stress causes anxiety, anger, inability to concentrate and fatigue, and can even lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, and a greater risk of diabetes. We can’t always control the stresses in our lives, but we can control how we respond to them. Start with these tips:

Practice Time Management

One of the easiest ways to minimize stress is taking charge of your time. Begin each day with a “to-do” list, and keep it handy where you can refer to it often (like on your phone). Prioritize tasks and eliminate distractions. Save the social media for your downtime so it doesn’t impact your schedule.

Identify What’s Stressing You

When you determine the stressors in your life, you may find many that you could change or eliminate entirely. Whether it’s a tough commute (explore different routes) or a full schedule (learn to say no or delegate more), the changes you make could change your life.

Share Your Feelings

Discuss your feelings with a trusted friend, family member or church leader. They may be able to provide assistance, a different point of view or share solutions from their own experiences. Sometimes just knowing that someone cares and is willing to listen goes a long way towards making you feel more relaxed. 

Take Care of Your Body

When you’re stressed, it’s easy to want to seek escape through smoking, alcohol and comfort foods full of sugar and fat. They might provide short-term relief, but in the long run they lead to health problems that cause … more stress.

Instead, nourish your body with a diet of fresh, unprocessed foods, with as many locally grown ingredients as possible. Make sure you get adequate sleep (for most people that’s seven to nine hours each night). Try to exercise 30 minutes or more a day. That can be as simple as doing housework, taking the dog for a walk or playing with your kids in the backyard. When your mind is clear and focused and your body is rested and strong, you’ll be better able to face life’s stressors.

Make Time For Yourself

When you’re planning your schedule, don’t forget to add something enjoyable for yourself everyday. It could be as simple as watching a favorite television show, listening to music, practicing meditation, or taking part in a hobby or sport. If you make time for the things that make you happy, you’ll be calmer and more able to put life’s stressors in perspective.