Stress can wreak havoc on your body and exacerbate chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and even erectile dysfunction. According to Healthline, 70% of adults in the U.S. say they feel stress or anxiety every day.
Other statistics show the devastating impact stress has on your health. According to The American Institute of Stress:
- About 33% of people report feeling extreme stress.
- 77% of people experience stress that affects their physical health.
- 73% of people have stress that impacts their mental health.
- 48% of people have trouble sleeping because of stress.
Unfortunately, for about half of all Americans, levels of stress are getting worse instead of better, and that can have dire consequences. Studies have linked excess and prolonged stress with increased risk of heart attacks and strokes, according to the American Institute of Stress.
While we cannot eliminate stress completely, Jessica Cording M.S., RD., and author of "The Little Book of Game-Changers: 50 Healthy Habits for Managing Stress and Anxiety," tells Newsmax that adopting positive changes into their lives has helped her clients deal with stress.
Here are some tips:
- Plan your meals carefully. "Make sure that your meals provide a balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates with half your plate for both lunch and dinner being vegetables," says the expert. To make life easier, prep your veggies once or twice a week so the peeling and chopping are already done.
- Choose a form of exercise that you enjoy. It makes it a lot easier to be consistent when you are having fun. According to Healthline, putting physical stress on your body helps released mental stress because it increases your body's level of stress hormones such as cortisol.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Numerous studies have shown that becoming even a little dehydrated can increase the levels of cortisol. "Make it convenient to drink by having a bottle you like to use, setting alerts on your phone, or establishing a habit of drinking water at regular times each day," Cording says.
- Laugh. Laughter not only reduces stress and anxiety, it can also bolster your immune system, Healthline reported.
- Spend time with friends and family. Now that many Americans have been vaccinated against COVID-19, they might strive to cultivate in-person friendships. Studies have shown spending time with friends and children releases oxytocin, a natural stress reliever.
- Chew gum. Research shows chewing gum can almost instantly relive stress, Healthline reported.
- Cultivate a morning and evening routine to help you get into a stable wake-up and sleep cycle.
- Put yourself on your calendar. Take time to practice self-care, whether it is scheduling a massage or simply talking a walk in nature, Cording says.
- Journal your feelings to gain an understanding of what sets you off. "Even five minutes a day can make a difference," Cording advises.
- Set aside daily "worry time." To avoid stress and anxiety from nagging you from dawn to dusk, Cording recommends allotting two 10-minute periods during each day to identify and realize exactly what is troubling you. Scheduling worry time allows us to be more mindful of the way we worry and helps us compartmentalize anxiety.
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