Stressing It? Enough.

Managing your stress not only has real health benefits, it can be really fun

Everyone—from CEOs to doctors to third-graders—experiences stress. It is a part of life, but mismanaged stress can lead to health problems such as high blood pressure, insomnia and a weakened immune system.

Some methods of relieving stress—such as eating junk food or abusing alcohol—are also unhealthy and will ultimately make things worse.

There are healthier ways to manage stress, and the best part is that you will actually want to do them! Try one of these:

Sing out loud. Belting out a tune has shown to relieve tension in the body and release endorphins in the brain that lower anxiety.

Rock out. If you’re not a crooner, you can still use music to get the same results. Playing guitar, piano or even some bongos would do. Or crank up the stereo and let your favorite band cheer you up.

LOL. Watching a great comedy or stand-up special isn’t just idle time. Laughter relieves stress both emotionally and physically. Just be careful not to binge too many comedies at once or you risk becoming a couch potato.

Game night. A pick-up game of basketball, tennis, or whichever game is convenient is a good way to get exercise, a proven stress reliever. Or if a board game is more your speed, arrange a game with friends to get the health benefits of social interaction.

Walk it off. For those who prefer their activities a little quieter, a simple walk in the neighborhood can be very refreshing. Walking, jogging and even gardening can bring your mind back to your body’s movements and away from stressful thinking.

Socialize. Time with friends doesn’t need to have an activity to be beneficial. Talk about your troubles over coffee with a supportive pal, or just connect with your funniest friend and take turns cracking either other up.

Or talk to yourself. Journaling is another activity that’s been proven to help with stress. Remember, it’s not a writing assignment—there are no points off for spelling or grammar and no one has to see it. Writing your thoughts and feelings down on paper gets them off your chest and clears your head. It can feel really good to just let it all out.

If you’ve tried a few different things but still feel overwhelmed by stress, talk with your doctor about more options such as anti-anxiety medication or professional counseling. There’s no need to suffer from the ill effects of stress when treatments are available.


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