Stress-Busting Tips From Experts10/19/13
SATURDAY, Oct. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Nobody is immune from the
negative health effects of stress. The good news is that staying
active is a natural and effective way to reduce stress and avoid
related issues like weight fluctuations, nausea and feeling tired,
"Stress can have many negative effects on the body, such as fatigue, headaches, upset stomach, insomnia, weight loss or gain, muscle tension, and elevated heart rate and blood pressure. You need to find an activity that helps reduce your stress," Jane Roy, an associate professor of human studies at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Education, said in a university news release.
"A single bout of aerobic exercise appears to affect a particular neurotransmitter that has an antidepressant-like effect in the brain, and the increase in blood flow to the working muscles causes a decrease in muscle tension," she explained.
Roy, who plays tennis for relaxation, added that it's also a
great distraction because she is focused on the game and not the
stressors in her daily life.
"When playing, I have to focus on things like the ball, strategy, score and skill, and not on whatever is causing me to feel stressed," she said. "I also play with friends, so we chat and laugh a lot on changeovers."
Not a tennis buff? Roy and two colleagues -- Larrell Wilkinson,
an assistant professor, and Retta Evans, an associate professor --
provided some alternative suggestions for easing day-to-day
- Get out.Going outside for a change of scenery, and taking
just a 10- to 15-minute walk can help. "Research suggests that a
natural environment is a de-stresser," Roy noted. "Anything
outdoors, weather permitting, is a great idea because it gets you
out of your regular environment. In the event of bad weather, try
yoga or basic stretching exercises."
- Take a deep breath.Stress or nerves may cause people to take
shallow breaths or even hold their breath. Simple breathing
exercises, like taking slow, deep breaths can help people relax and
- Find a hobby.Having fun and doing something you enjoy is a
great way to feel better and relax. "Plan fun activities and enjoy
hobbies or engage in interests outside of the job environment,"
Wilkinson advised in the news release.
- Eat a healthy diet.Eating more healthy foods, particularly
fruits and vegetables, may boost your immune system. "A poor diet
puts the body in a state of physical stress and weakens the immune
system," Wilkinson explained. "As a result, a person can be more
likely to get infections."
- Be positive.Making it a point to look on the bright side can
make a big difference when it comes to stress. "A person with a
negative attitude will often report more stress than would someone
with a positive attitude," Wilkinson said.
- Stay connected.When coping with life's twists and turns,
it's important to rely on friends for support. "Sometimes having
little or no social support will increase the difficulty of dealing
with an issue," Wilkinson noted.
- Stretch."Stress builds up over time and can center in the neck, back and spine," Evans said in the release. "Stress can cause headaches and lower the immune response. Both exercise and stretching help to relieve stress."
- Take a break.For 10 minutes every day, relax and try to shut
out the world. "Close your eyes and breathe deeply; this can
trigger the relaxation response," Evans suggested.
The American Psychological Association explains how
stress affects your health.
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Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.