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Take Time Thursday: 4 Healthy Habits to Help Reduce Stress

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Reducing stress in your life is important. Between work, family obligations and a constantly changing world, people in the United States are stressed. In fact, U.S. workers are among the most stressed in the world, according to a State of the Global Workplace study. While some stress is unavoidable and can be good for you, constant or chronic stress can have real consequences for your mental and physical health.

Chronic stress can increase your lifetime risk of heart disease and stroke. Stress can lead to unhealthy habits like overeating, physical inactivity, smoking. These poor habits lead to increasing risk factors, including high blood pressure, depression and anxiety.

However, a scientific statement from the American Heart Association shows reducing stress and cultivating a positive mindset can improve health and well-being.

Here are some simple steps to reduce stress.

Stay Active

Physical activity is linked to lower risk of diseases, stronger bones and muscles, improved mental health and cognitive function and lower risk of depression. It can also help increase energy and improve quality of sleep. The American Heart Association recommends adults get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activity, 75 minutes of vigorous activity or a combination.

Meditate

Incorporate meditation and mindfulness practices into your day to give yourself a few minutes to create some distance from daily stress. Equally important studies show meditation can reduce blood pressure, improve sleep, support the immune system and increase your ability to process information.

Keep Positive

A positive mindset can improve overall health. Having a positive mindset can help you live longer, and happier. People individuals tend to sleep better, exercise more, eat better and not smoke. Practice positive self-talk to help you stay calm. Instead of saying, “everything is going wrong,” re-frame the situation and remind yourself “I can handle this if I take it one step at a time.” Gratitude – or thankfulness – is a powerful tool that can reduce levels of depression and anxiety and improve sleep. Start by simply writing down three things you’re grateful for each da

Find more stress-management tips at Heart.org/stress.


SOURCE:
American Heart Association

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