April Is Stress Awareness Month

Stress has become America’s number one killer. Heart disease, cirrhosis of the liver, suicide, lung ailments, and various other illnesses have all been linked to stress. Getting rid of stress may be easier said than done, but these tips may help you reduce it.

1. Meditation is one of the best stress relievers. The basic steps are simple. Always remember to be B.R.A.V.E.

  • Breathe. Concentrate on your breathing. Take deep breaths—inhale deeply and exhale slowly.

  • Relax. Loosen up your muscles. Relax your arms, hands, and legs. Sit with your feet planted on the floor, and your hands resting in your lap.

  • Acknowledge. Realize some things cannot change overnight. Say to yourself, “Today begins my road to transformation.”

  • Visualize. Imagine a safe and peaceful place. Close your eyes, and take your body on a mental vacation.

  • Energize. Tune into your body’s energy. Focus on positive emotions. Think encouraging thoughts.

2. Pump up the volume. You heard the saying, “music calms the savage beast.” Well, it’s true. Listen to soothing music, or rock out with your favorite artist. Any of these activities will lower your heart rate, anxiety, and blood pressure.

3. Socialize. Laugh out loud. Hearty laughter relieves stress and tension. A good laugh leaves muscles relaxed for up to forty-five minutes after, and promotes an overall sense of well-being.

4. Exercise. Take a quick walk. Do a few jumping jacks. Get that adrenaline pumping. Physical activity produces endorphins, improves your ability to sleep, and reduces stress.

5. Log off. Awaiting emails, screening inbox messages, scrolling Facebook and Instagram timelines, and keeping up with the latest on Snapchat or Twitter is a never-ending cycle. Constantly being on alert is stressful in itself. Give yourself time away from devices. Turn off your cell phone for a period of time every day. Daily downtime will help minimize stress.

The best way to reduce stress is to accept your predicament, and then let it go. Many things cannot be fixed immediately. Don’t panic. Put a positive spin on your negative circumstance, and your stress level will stay at a minimum. Use these tips to control stress, so stress will no longer control you.

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