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Healthy Mind, Healthy Body

Note: This article is over 60 days old, and may contain information that is out of date, or has been superseded by newer information.

Do you feel limited by stress or emotional problems?

When you experience stress, your body responds like you are in danger. It makes hormones that speed up your heart, make you breathe faster, and give you a burst of energy. Some stress is normal and even useful. But if stress happens too often or lasts too long, it can have bad effects. Stress can cause headaches, upset stomach, back pain, and trouble sleeping. It can weaken your immune system, and if you already have a health problem, stress may make it worse.

How can you avoid stress?

  • Manage your time. Make a list of tasks to accomplish, think about which things are most important, and do those first.
  • Take care of your body. Get plenty of sleep. Eat well. Don't smoke. Limit alcohol intake.
  • Speak up. Talking about your worries can help alleviate negative emotions, before they cause you stress. Practice calm, assertive communication to help efficiently express how you feel.
  • Ask for help. A strong network of family and friends can help manage stress better.

How can you relieve stress?

  • Exercise. Regular exercise isn’t just good for your body. It’s also one of the best ways to manage stress. (Check out Increase Your Physical Activity to learn how to get started).
  • Let your feelings out. Writing about your feelings can help you work through things that are bothering you. Or, try talking, laughing, crying, and expressing anger with someone you trust.
  • Do something you enjoy. Hobbies, reading or volunteer work can be great stress relievers.
  • Relax your body. Physically relaxing your body through breathing exercises, muscle relaxation exercises, massage, yoga, or meditation can help quiet your mind.

Sometimes stress or emotional problems are just too much to handle alone. Talking to a friend or family member may help, but you may also want to see a medical professional.