Manage Your Stress – Tips on Managing Stress 2

Posted by Lloyd on February 02, 2011
Stress Management

Manage stress to get healthy
Anyone who has survived a heart attack must learn to beat stress to avoid another one. Sometimes stress has partly been the cause of heart disease. There is some evidence to indicate that high-energy, competitive people may suffer more from heart disease than more relaxed people. Interestingly, however, the task-oriented, competitive types are more successful than the carefree personalities at changing their lifestyle by quitting smoking and/or reducing fat in their diet.

Those with heart disease can start feeling healthy by practicing stress management. Physical relaxation techniques help prevent stress. Stretching and other exercises are helpful. Regular meditation puts you in control of your thinking, so you can get rid of negative thoughts. Another good way to beat stress is to have fun!

Set a SMART Goal and achieve it!
Unrealistic goals that never seem to be reached add to your stress level. Try setting one goal for yourself this week using the SMART approach:

Specific – Pick one small goal and write it down.
Measurable – Can you count it or check it off a list?
Achievable – Is it realistic? If not, make it smaller.
Rewarded – Decide how to reward yourself when you reach your goal.
Time-limited – Set a specific, realistic date to finish or achieve your goal.

Stress Stretch
When you are under stress, tension accumulates in your neck and jaw. Take a minute to gently and slowly move your head from front to back, side to side, and in a full circle.

For your jaw, stretch your mouth open and slowly move your lower jaw from side to side and front to back.
NOTE: If you notice any pain or if you have had any injuries to your back, neck or jaw, check with your doctor first.

The joy of stress?
Some challenges are fun but in many people, certain forms of stress on an everyday basis can actually be a risk to heart health. In these people, chronic mental or emotional stress may raise blood pressure to unhealthy levels and damage their artery walls.

Of course everyone faces stress almost constantly, especially in today’s competitive workplace and unfortunately no one stress coping skill works for every situation. It’s wise to learn a flexible set of techniques that work for you. Lately, more and more people are finding that visualization (picturing yourself in a relaxed setting), conscious muscle relaxation and deep breathing are all helpful. There are lots of other proven stress relief techniques too.

Tips for stress busting your way to better health
Identify the source of your stress. Sounds easy, but sometimes it’s hard to figure out what is really bothering you. Is it the kids fighting over the TV remote – or something that happened at work today? Is it the traffic – or the fight you had last night with your significant other? The first step in managing your stress is figuring out the cause.

Insider Scoop: During a six-year study following nearly 13,000 people, researchers found that those who were the most prone to anger were almost three times more likely to have a heart attack or sudden cardiac arrest than those with the lowest anger ratings. Those who scored high on the anger scale were also more likely to be smokers and drinkers.
Be physically active. Being active may relieve that “uptight” feeling, help you to relax and even energize you. When the going gets tough, get going out the door for a brisk walk or run. Just be sure to talk to your physician before beginning any activity program.

Insider Scoop: Even people with coronary artery disease can benefit from exercise and counseling. A Heart and Stroke Foundation-funded study of 249 patients on a waiting list for elective coronary artery bypass surgery found that those who received exercise training twice a week, education and support spent less time in the intensive care unit after their surgery and had shorter hospital stays. Researchers estimate that the program could save up to $400 per patient.
Share your feelings. Just talking to a friend, family member or coworker can help you feel better.

Insider Scoop: Research has shown that social support among coworkers or from supervisors can help to relieve the stress of a demanding job.
Take time for yourself. In trying to meet the needs of everyone around you, don’t short-change yourself. Make time for your favourite activities or friends.

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