Everyone experiences stress, in our personal lives and in response to national and international crises, but how it’s managed can impact your chances of developing serious health conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, dementia and stroke. Through healthy lifestyle habits, and sometimes professional help, you can reduce your daily stress, leading to better overall health.

Stress is the natural response to a perceived threat. When exposed to a stressor, the hormone cortisol is released, sending the body into “fight or flight.” While stress is a normal occurrence, it can become constant, negatively affecting everyday activities and leaving you more susceptible to chronic inflammation and life-altering diseases.

Sarah Bell, PA-C, says it is important to understand what causes stress and to take steps to manage stress to protect their long-term health.

“Chronic stress can take a major toll on the body,” says Sarah Bell, PA-C. “With a few easy lifestyle changes, stress can be easily controlled, lowering the risk of heart disease, stroke and other conditions.”

Sarah recommends five habits to help reduce stress:

  • Exercise daily: The American Heart Association reports only 2.5 hours of moderate exercise a week can reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and Alzheimer’s.
  • Eat healthy: Break the “stress eating” habit and adopt a balanced diet that includes vegetables and healthy fats. Try planning healthy meals ahead of time to avoid reaching for unhealthy snacks when hunger – or stress – strikes.
  • Get enough sleep: For adults, experts recommend sleeping seven to nine hours a day.
  • Practice self-care: Take time to relax and recharge through your favorite activities and mindfulness techniques like meditation.
  • Ask for help: Unfortunately, stress can become overwhelming. Physicians and mental health professionals can provide you with tools to help manage stress and feel better.

“Don’t let stress cause you to live an unhealthy life. With the few recommendations listed, you can change your life by eliminating that unwanted stress.”

In the U.S., 60% of adults admit to feeling stress every day according to a nationwide survey by Gallup. With so many Americans experiencing stress, it’s more important than ever to adopt healthy, stress-relieving habits.

To find a physician or learn more ways to manage stress, visit tennovamedicalgroup.com or call 1-855-TENNOVA.

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