Stress Free

plant_growing_through_concreteStress is a healthy and normal part of daily life. The National Institute of Mental Health defines stress as the brain’s response to a challenge, and in moderate amounts, stress keeps one alert to danger and motivated to achieve. Stress in larger doses however, is dangerous to health and mental well-being; many people experience physical aches, insomnia, and negative emotional side effects from stress. Although we cannot always avoid stressors, managing stress and our reaction to it can keep us healthy and positive.

Staying Active: Exercise is a great way to relieve stress and maintain health. Physical activity improves mood, promotes healthy habits, and can even help you sleep better. Exercising outside is an especially good stress reliever; research shows that viewing nature—even something as simple as a potted plant, helps alleviate tension.

Sleep: Most adults need between seven and nine hours of rest each night to function at an optimal level. Good sleep makes you more mentally alert and better able to deal with the day’s challenges. Sleep however is often the first thing to suffer when someone is under stress. Make sleep a priority; avoid staring at computer, television, or cell phone screens before bed, and create a relaxing bedtime routine to prepare yourself to rest.

Perspective: Studies shows that taking time to appreciate what you already have is a good way to stay positive. Focusing on what is going well in your life and noting all the good things that happen each day—no matter how mundane, helps to relieve tension. Getting perspective on a situation by talking with a trusted friend or family member can also reduce worry over a stressful situation and provide emotional support when stress gets overwhelming.

Relax and take a break from your stressful schedule at a spa, salon, or hotel in your area. Search Real Local Pages (RLP), an online directory of businesses, to find anything from spas and restaurants, to auto repair shops and landscapers. Visit the website, http://www.reallocalpages.com, and choose your location. Use the search box to find local businesses, or, choose a search term from the popular categories list at the bottom of the main page. A list of businesses matching your search term will appear on the results page; each listing will include the phone number and address of the business.