Stress is becoming one of the leading health concerns. Research continually shows that high stress levels sustained over long periods of time have severe long-term consequences, including compromised immune function and increased risk of stroke and heart disease. Stress also diminishes our quality of life and negatively impacts our relationships with loved ones and family. Although stress seems to be built-in to our daily lives (especially for those who live in large urban centers), it is possible to manage it.
Stress Management Hacks
Here are a few simple tips for managing day-to-day stress:
Just 10 minutes of brisk activity produces endorphins, the brain chemicals that act as natural painkillers and improve your ability to sleep, all of which reduce stress.
Double the benefits by taking exercise outdoors in the fresh air, surrounded by trees and greenery if possible. (There is loads of research indicating the restorative effects of nature.)
Pet an animal
It’s been proven that interacting with a dog or cat lowers blood pressure and reduces stress. It’s the reason you’ll see therapy animals making visits to senior facilities, hospitals and university campuses during exam time.
Talk it through
When stress is out of control, consider counseling or a support group where you can talk through your anxiety. Discovering you are not alone in itself can bring some relief. Counseling and support groups can also offer new strategies for stress management and coping with stressful situations.
Don’t wait until you’re feeling overwhelmed before taking action. If you need referrals or recommendations for stress management and/or emotional well-being resources, please contact UNM Truman Health Services.