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Helping Your Body Fight Stress

Your body is naturally equipped to deal with a certain amount of stress. But if stress increases and your reserves are low, stress can have a bigger impact. Building up your defenses is a "long-term" plan for reducing stress. It will also improve your overall health and give you more energy. To help prepare your body to deal with stress:
  • Make sure you are getting enough sleep. Most people need 7-8 hours per night. If possible, get extra sleep before and during periods of increased stress.
  • Eat a balanced, nutritious diet. Good nutrition can improve your ability to handle stress by keeping your immune system strong.
  • Avoid using caffeine, cigarettes, or alcohol as a way of dealing with stress.
It's easy to relax when you're not feeling stressed. It takes a special effort to learn how to relax in a stressful situation. There is no "right way" to relax that works for everyone. Most people use a combination of methods, and find that different situations call for different ways of relaxing. You may need to try several techniques before finding the one that works best for you. Here are a few things that can help reduce stress:
  • Yoga
  • Tai Chi
  • Regular physical activity: try to exercise for at least 30 minutes most days of the week.
  • Meditation and deep breathing exercises
  • Taking part in a favorite hobby, such as gardening, dancing, reading, or listening to music.

Some of the symptoms of stress are also very similar to those of depression. Depression is a common disorder that is related to a chemical imbalance in the brain. Fortunately, depression can be treated safely and effectively. It's important to recognize the signs so that you can get treatment.

Signs of depression:
  • Feeling "sad" or "blue"
  • Losing interest or pleasure in things you used to enjoy
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Decreased energy
  • "Slowing down" of mental or physical activity
  • Weight gain or loss, or changes in your appetite
  • Feeling anxious or agitated
  • Having trouble concentrating, being indecisive, or having memory loss
  • Feeling guilty or worthless
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
Because some signs of depression are similar to those that occur with stress, having some of these signs does not necessarily mean that you have depression. Still, if you have had some of these symptoms, speak to your health care professional. Depression can be effectively treated, and this can go a long way to helping you reduce stress and feel better.

Click here For more information on stress.


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