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Categories > Mental and Emotional Health > Stress management

Besting stress

Whether you’ve lost your job, are facing a difficult divorce or are overworked, stress can weigh you down. No matter the cause, you must address the problem to keep stress from spiraling out of control, since prolonged stress is linked to depression, heart disease and impaired immunity.

Find the source

You likely know what’s causing your tension, but if not, jot down which events caused an emotional response in you, how you reacted and who was involved. If you suspect that it’s your schedule that’s getting you down, make a list of everything you do in a week, from driving your daughter to soccer practice to volunteer work.

Deal with it

Some people turn to bad habits, taking drugs, smoking or drinking alcohol. But there are healthier ways to handle stress:

  • Set limits. Learn what’s a priority (getting dinner on the table) and what’s not (organizing the linen closet) and schedule your activities accordingly. Learn to say no and to ask for help when you need it.
  • Make time for yourself. Maybe you’ll take a nightly bubble bath or set aside some time to read.
  • Take a deep breath. Concentrating on deep breathing can calm you. Inhale through your nose, hold your breath, then exhale through your mouth.
  • Sweat it out. Exercise can loosen up tense muscles and releases those feel-good chemicals known as endorphins.
  • Surround yourself with positivity. Limit your time with people who are negative.
  • Take a break. If you can, take a weeklong vacation. If not, even a long weekend can do wonders to rejuvenate you. At work, take plenty of breaks.
  • See a pro. Sometimes it takes a professional to relieve stress. Ask your healthcare provider for a recommendation.