The demands of everyday life often rear their ugly head as stress. Although the right amount of stress can motivate you to be alert, energized and focused, too much stress can be harmful to your health. It can cause you to feel tense, anxious, irritable or overwhelmed; feelings that can also raise your blood pressure and affect your heart health.
The way you handle and respond to stress can help you prevent heart problems. The key to managing stress in your life is to understand the causes of your stress and then learn how to manage it.
Here are five simple steps to manage stress levels and help your heart:
- It’s good to have yourself a good LOL – Laughter has been proven to reduce stress levels, reduce inflammation in arteries and increase good cholesterol. So have yourself a good laugh and reduce stress in the process.
- Work it out– During a #LRStrong workout session, either in a class or with a personal trainer, you will realize most of your day’s irritations don’t seem to bother you. Why? Because you are totally focused on trying to keep up to the beat in a Zumba class. As you begin to regularly forget those irritations through movement and exercise, you may find that this focus on a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism, can help you remain calm and clear in everything you do.
- Relaxation practice – There are many ways to practice relaxation some include meditating, being present, laughing, etc. A quick method to relax is to breathe deeply, which will only take 5 minutes out of your day:
- Sit up straight, eyes closed, with a hand on your belly.
- Slowly inhale through your nose, feeling the breath start in your abdomen and work its way to the top of your head.
- Reverse the process as you exhale through your mouth.
- Unplug – Nowadays, everyone spends a majority of their time on the internet. Either on your phone scrolling through Instagram, checking updates on Twitter, replying to emails, etc. What you may not realize is the amount of time spent online could be your stress level trigger. While it is impossible to go completely cold turkey from the internet, because some of us actually need it for work and communicating, it is beneficial to ease into the practice of unplugging. Instead, set time limits or boundaries like “I’ll leave my phone in the bedroom during dinner” or “I won’t check out Instagram until I finish this reading this chapter.”
- Identify your personal triggers – We all have stress for different reasons, a situation that may have you running to the bathroom may be hilarious to another. Which is why an important step to managing stress is to identify your unique triggers.
What are some other ways that you manage stress in your daily life? Share them with us on Twitter!