Healthy ways to relieve stress throughout the day


Stress affects people from all walks of life, and the causes of stress are as varied as the people it afflicts.

In its 2017 Stress in AmericaTM survey, the American Psychological Association (APA) found that the three most common sources of stress were the future of the nation (63 percent), money (62 percent) and work (61 percent). According to the National Institute of Mental Health, routine stress that becomes chronic can result in a host of negative side effects. Such stress can suppress the immune system, disrupt digestion and have an adverse effect on sleep. But men and women who feel stressed at the end of each day need not resign themselves to sleepless nights and/or weakened immune systems. A proactive approach to alleviating stress during the day can help men and women reduce their stress levels and avoid the negative side effects associated with chronic stress.

Walk away. The APA notes that taking a break from a stressor is one of a handful of healthy techniques that research has indicated is a successful way to reduce stress, both in the short- and long-term. If a project at work is proving especially stressful, step away for a short period of time to do something else, whether it's to go for a brief walk or converse with a coworker about something unrelated to the project. Avoiding the stress entirely, especially if it's a work project or a bill that must be paid, is not the answer. But a short break from the stressor and thinking about it can provide a new perspective and time to calm down.

■ Meditate. When stressed out, men and women should not discount the potential benefits of meditation. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University examined more than 19,000 meditation studies, ultimately concluding that mindful meditation can ease stresses like anxiety, depression and pain. The APA notes that such meditation has been found to reap immediate benefits, potentially helping people who can find time to meditate during the day to prevent their stress from accumulating throughout a hectic workday.

Find time to exercise. The APA notes that research continues to support the notion that exercise is as beneficial to the mind as it is to the body. Exercising several days per week is especially beneficial to mind and body, but even 20-minute exercise sessions, including a walk around the grounds of an office complex or a quick swim during a lunch break, in the midst of stressful days can help people combat stress for several hours afterward.

■ Delegate more during the day. Work is the third-leading source of stress among Americans. Men and women who feel overworked may benefit by delegating more tasks during their days or simply stepping back and taking on less work. The potential effects on your career of taking on less work will likely pale in comparison to the toll chronic stress, which can contribute to heart disease and stroke, takes on your body.