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Stress management health centre

How to reduce stress

Some people seem to thrive on stress. A certain amount of stress can help keep a person alert and motivated. However, too much stress can take its toll on physical and mental health.
Look out for the signs of stress, then take steps to reduce and manage them. Stress symptoms include:

Tips for reducing and managing stress

People can learn to manage stress and lead happier, healthier lives. Here are some tips to help you keep stress at bay:

  • Keep a positive attitude.
  • Accept that there are events that you cannot control.
  • Be assertive instead of aggressive. Assert your feelings, opinions or beliefs instead of becoming angry, defensive or passive.
  • Learn and practise relaxation techniques; try meditation, breathing exercises, yoga or t’ai chi.
  • Eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
  • Learn to manage your time more effectively.
  • Get enough rest and sleep. Your body needs time to recover from stressful events.
  • Don't rely on alcohol, drugs or compulsive behaviours to reduce stress.
  • Identify the sources of stress. Try to figure out what's causing your stress symptoms. Maybe you have too many commitments and feel fatigued and irritable. Once you identify the sources of stress, try to minimise these as much as possible.
  • Talk it out. Talk to a friend, family member or therapist if your stress level is too high. Getting your feelings out without others judging you is crucial for good mental health.
  • Take time for yourself. Before you reach your breaking point, take time for solitude. Take time to nurture yourself, away from the cares and responsibilities of the world. Find time for inner strength and emotional healing.
  • Set limits. Never hesitate to say ‘no’ before you take on too many commitments. Especially if you are balancing work and family, it's important to prioritise. Saying ‘no’ can help bring your stress to a manageable level and give you more control over your life.
  • Exercise daily. Exercise is thought to increase the secretion of endorphins, naturally produced substances in the brain that induce feelings of peacefulness. Many studies show that exercise, along with the boosted endorphin levels, really does increase confidence and self-esteem and reduce tension. Exercise also acts as a displacement defence mechanism for those who are ‘ stressed out’. What does that mean? If you've ever walked for several miles, you know how hard it is to think of your problems when your mind is focused on walking.

 

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on February 28, 2017

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