A Stress-Free Heart is a Healthy Heart

With the holidays around the corner, this time of year can bring a lot of joy and a lot of…

Stress.  We have all felt it at one time or another, but many people feel stress too often. Some even feel it as part of their daily lives. Stress can contribute to numerous conditions like heart disease, stroke, immune disorders, gastrointestinal problems, eating problems, sleep disturbances and sexual problems. Learning to reduce your stress can help you live a happier, healthier and maybe even longer life.

Mental Health America offers the following tips for reducing or controlling stress:

  • Set realistic goals— Do not take on everything and learn to say no. If you feel overwhelmed, try eliminating an activity that is not absolutely necessary. Ask yourself, “What really needs to be done? Is the deadline realistic?” No one is perfect, so don’t expect perfection from yourself or others. And ask for help if you need it.
  • Set aside time to meditate— It only takes about 10-20 minutes to benefit from meditating. These few moments of quiet reflection may bring relief from stress, as well as increase your tolerance to it. It is simple to do: sit quietly, listen to peaceful music, relax and try to think of pleasant things or completely clear your mind of all thoughts.
  • Slow down— When you start to feel overwhelmed, try taking one task at a time. Make a list of things you need to do and prioritize the items. Once you have tackled something, mark it off the list. This can bring about feelings of accomplishment and confidence.
  • Be active— Regular exercise is a great way to reduce stress, and it benefits both the body and the mind.
  • Find a hobby— What do you love to do? By setting aside time for your favorite hobby, you will remove yourself from life’s stressors. Whether it is trying out a new recipe, planting in your garden, or playing pool, you will be giving your brain a welcome break.
  • Learn to be more flexible— You don’t always have to be right. By being flexible when issues come up, it will be easier to find the middle ground. If you feel strongly you have the best solution, discuss your point of view in a respectful way and take the time to listen to other people’s perspectives.
  • Let go of perfection— When you expect too much from yourself or others, you may end up feeling frustrated, let down and disappointed. Remember that each person,


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