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Healthy ways to handle stress

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Stress affects people of all ages. The symptoms of stress can be extremely unpleasant, as participants in a study released earlier this year by the Statistic Brain Research Institute and the American Institute of Stress who reported experiencing physical symptoms of stress admitted to feeling fatigue, headache, upset stomach, and muscle tension, among other things.
 
Among those who reported feeling physical symptoms of stress, 77 percent admitted to feeling those symptoms regularly, citing job pressure and money as the primary causes of their stress. How men and women handle stress can impact both their immediate and long-term health, as stress has been linked to a host of problems and ailments, including sleep dysfunction and heart disease. Many people cope with stress in unhealthy ways, which may only exacerbate the effects of stress on the body. Certain methods of handling stress may work for some people but not others, but the following are a few healthy ways to combat stress.
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine consumption. Many adults turn to alcohol at the end of a stressful day, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that relying on alcohol to cope with stress may only create more problems down the road, and those problems will only increase your stress levels. In addition, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America notes that alcohol and caffeine can aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks.
  • Rely on a support network. Coworkers, family and friends have stressful days, too, and such confidantes can help you handle stress in healthy ways. The ADAA recommends men and women dealing with stress let their support circle know how they can help relieve stress. Many people simply need to talk to someone after a stressful day, which can feel like a weight has been lifted off their shoulders. Let your support network know you're there for them when they experience stress as well.
  • Get daily exercise. Exercise pays a host of dividends, not the least of which is relieving stress. At the end of a stressful day, get some exercise instead of pouring yourself a drink or indulging in an unhealthy meal. When the body is physically active, the brain secretes endorphins, which are neurotransmitters that make you feel good. Regular exercise also helps you get a fuller, deeper sleep, which can be disrupted by stress.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Diet also can affect how your body handles stress. Certain foods can tame stress. For example, oatmeal can boost levels of a calming chemical known as serotonin in your brain. That calming effect can make it easier to cope with stress. Other foods may help strengthen the immune system. Vitamin C, for instance, may help curb levels of stress hormones such as cortisol while simultaneously strengthening the immune system. Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish such as salmon and tuna, may help prevent surges in stress hormones while also protecting against heart disease and depression, two serious conditions that studies have linked to elevated stress levels.
Healthy ways to handle stress can help men and women who are stressed out ensure that stress is not compromising both their immediate and long-term health.