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Monthly Health Topics

Five Tips to Manage Stress for National Stress Awareness Month

By George Hulse
Managing stress, anxiety, and depression is always a challenge, but you’re not alone. April is National Stress Awareness Month, and I want you to take a few moments this month to assess the stress in your life and figure out ways to either lower or eliminate it. Lowering stress can decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease, according to the American Heart Association.
Here are some tips to help you cope with stress:
Take time to focus on yourself. With busy lives, it’s easy to forget to set aside time for ourselves. Make time for hobbies and for things you enjoy and find relaxing.
Try meditation. You don’t have to be a yoga practitioner to take some quiet time for yourself. According to the American Heart Association, a 2012 study showed that African Americans with heart disease who practiced meditation regularly were 48 percent less likely to have a heart attack or stroke, or to die from their ailment, compared to African Americans who attended a health education class for more than five years.
Take a walk. Exercise produces chemicals that boost mood and reduce pain, according to the Mayo Clinic. The Mayo Clinic website says it’s important to do something you enjoy doing, which will help you stick with it.
Cut back on alcohol. Alcoholic drinks help you relax in the moment but have been proven to worsen anxiety and depression. It’s never a good idea to try drowning your sorrows.
Talk to someone. If you’re in pain, you don’t need to be alone. If you’re uncomfortable talking with a friend or family member, find a counselor that you trust. Sharing your feelings can make you feel like a load has been lifted.
George Hulse is Vice President of External Affairs at Healthfirst. The information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice from your doctor.

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