Tip of the Day: Stop Stressing Out

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Stress can greatly harm your heart. Check out four simple and effective ways to get rid of daily stresses.

Positive Self-Talk

Self-talk is one way to deal with stress. Negative self-talk increases stress. Positive self-talk helps you calm down and control stress.

For example, here are some positive statements:

"I can get help if I need it."

"We can work it out."

"I won't let this problem get me down."

"Things could be worse."

"I'm human, and we all make mistakes."

"Some day I'll laugh about this."

"I can deal with this situation when I feel better."

Emergency Stress Stoppers

Count to 10 before you speak..

Take three to five deep breaths.

Walk away from the stressful situation, and say you'll handle it later.

Go for a walk.

Don't be afraid to say "I'm sorry" if you make a mistake.

Set your watch five to 10 minutes ahead to avoid the stress of being late.

Break down big problems into smaller parts. For example, answer one letter or phone call per day, instead of dealing with everything at once.

Drive in the slow lane or avoid busy roads to help you stay calm while driving.

Smell a rose, hug a loved one or smile at your neighbor.

Finding Pleasure

When stress makes you feel bad, do something that makes you feel good. Doing things you enjoy is a natural way to fight off stress.

Take 15 minutes out of your day to try one of these activities that you enjoy:

Start an art project (oil paint, sketch, create a scrap book or finger paint with grandchildren).

Take up a hobby, new or old.

Read a favorite book, short story, magazine or newspaper.

Have coffee or a meal with friends.

Play golf, tennis, ping-pong or bowl.

Sew, knit or crochet.

Listen to music during or after you practice relaxation.

Take a nature walk — listen to the birds, identify trees and flowers.

Make a list of everything you still want to do in life.

Watch an old movie on TV or rent a video.

Take a class at your local college.

Play cards or board games with family and friends.

Limit your salt intake.

Daily Relaxation

Relaxation is more than sitting in your favorite chair watching TV. To relieve stress, relaxation should calm the tension in your mind and body. Some good forms of relaxation are yoga, tai chi (a series of slow, graceful movements) and meditation. Deep breathing is a form of relaxation you can learn and practice at home using the following steps.

1. Sit in a comfortable position with your feet on the floor and your hands in your lap or lie down. Close your eyes.

2. Picture yourself in a peaceful place. Perhaps you're lying on the beach, walking in the mountains or floating in the clouds. Hold this scene in your mind.

3. Inhale and exhale. Focus on breathing slowly and deeply.

4. Continue to breathe slowly for 10 minutes or more.

5. Try to take at least five to 10 minutes every day for deep breathing or another form of relaxation.

CLICK HERE to learn more about heart health.

Source: www.heart.org and www.consumerreports.org