St. Joseph Health System
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Stress Management

Stress is a natural response to many situations. Whether facing a crisis or just managing the challenges of daily life, we all experience stress at some point. In fact, 75 percent of people claim that they feel "great stress" at least one day a week. Because stress is part of life for everyone, it is vital to learn to manage it in healthy ways. There are many steps that can be taken in order to reduce stress levels and to fight stress once it is present.

Reducing Stress

Stress can cause negative physical, mental, and emotional responses. High levels of unmanaged stress can lead to negative effects on the heart, as well the other bodily systems. Because stress can have such detrimental effects on the body and mind, it is important that you aim to eliminate as many of the stressors in your life as possible.

  • Set realistic goals for yourself. Unrealistic goals can leave you feeling overwhelmed. However, setting small daily goals at home and at work can help guide you to where you want to be, as well as facilitate time management, which can lead to lower stress levels.
  • Don't worry about things you can't control. There are situations in life that will be out of your control. Instead of filling your time with worry, think of proactive steps you can take towards conquering these situations.
  • Do something for yourself every day. Go for a walk, read a book, or take up a new hobby. Spending just 15 minutes doing something you enjoy will leave you feeling rejuvenated and better able to cope with your daily stresses.
  • Utilize positive self-talk. Praise yourself when you do well. Remind yourself that you can conquer a difficult situation. Positive self-talk can help you remain calm and reduce stress levels.

Healthy Coping Strategies

The first step in coping with the stresses of everyday life is to identify the things that trigger your stress. Once you are aware of what causes the tension, it is easier to make changes to eliminate or resolve those situations. There are also many healthy habits you can create that may reduce your stress:

  • Get enough sleep
  • Make exercise a part of your daily routine
  • Talk to your family and friends
  • Maintain a balanced diet
  • Get organized
  • Remember to laugh!

Building healthy habits can help eliminate the stressors in your life, and it can help you to better cope with those that can't be eliminated. Facing less daily stresses and coping with stress properly can lead to a healthier, happier lifestyle.

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