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Managing Stress

Stress is how your body and mind react to change. Stress can help you energize and focus. However, if you have too much stress or don't deal well with it, stress can lead to unwanted symptoms and have a negative impact on your heart. Learn ways to manage your stress, such as deep breathing, getting a good night's sleep or making healthy lifestyle changes.

Stress is how your body and your mind react to change. Stress can help you energize and focus. However, if you have too much stress or don't deal well with it, stress can lead to unwanted symptoms and may negatively impact your heart. Both minor and major issues can trigger stress including oversleeping, running late, moving, getting married, getting divorced or losing your job.

Symptoms of stress may include:

  • Clammy hands, dry mouth, headaches, tight muscles, skin rash or sleep problems
  • Anger, confusion, sadness, fear or forgetfulness
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Avoiding loved ones, disrupted eating habits or depression

Be sure to call your physician or a mental health professional if you:

  • Rely on alcohol, drugs or overeating
  • Feel depressed, out of control or hopeless
  • Have missed a lot of work
  • Have gained or lost a lot of weight
  • Can't control your spending habits

Ways You Can Manage Stress


Try deep breathing

  • Choose a quiet spot
  • Sit or stand in a comfortable position
  • Slowly breathe in through your nose
  • Pucker your lips (like you are whistling) so you can control how fast the air comes out of your mouth
  • Breathe in for 3 seconds and out for 3 seconds. Repeat for 5 minutes

Change your lifestyle

  • Boost your self-esteem with positive talk. Tell yourself that you can meet your goals and that you are in control
  • Prepare yourself for stressful events. Rehearse an event before it occurs and imagine it ending well
  • Learn how your body feels when it relaxes. One at a time, tense and relax each muscle in your body. Notice how it feels to be relaxed instead of tense
  • Exercise 3-5 days per week. Besides making you stronger and healthier, exercise helps to reduce the symptoms of stress

Get a good night's sleep

  • Sleep on a comfortable mattress
  • Turn off the ringer on your phone
  • Keep your room dark or wear a sleep mask
  • Only go to bed when you are sleepy. If you are wide awake, do something relaxing such as reading a book or listening to soothing music
  • Avoid caffeine or alcohol before bedtime
  • If you are having difficulty going to sleep, take a warm bath or drink a glass of milk

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