How can you reduce your stress level?
Everyone faces challenges in life that are stressful. However, being in a constant state of stress affects both your physical and mental health. Finding ways to manage your stress will increase your well-being and lead to a happier and healthier life. Once you recognize the source of your stress you can take steps to reduce and manage your symptoms.
The American Foundation for Cancer Research website states – “Scientific research has found that reducing one’s stress level is an important aspect of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and preventing cancer”. It also states that “Studies have shown the risk of getting cancer may increase due to long-term and high-level stress which weakens the immune system”.
Tips for reducing or managing stress:
Making healthy lifestyle choices to ensure your well being are the foundation of good health. Having a healthy body will increase your ability to deal with stress.
- eat healthy well-balanced meals
- get enough rest and sleep because your body needs time to recover from stressful events
- exercise increases the secretion of endorphins which creates a feeling of peacefulness
Maintain a positive attitude towards life.
- your attitude determines how you cope with stressful situation
- learn to see the positive side of situations
- don’t sweat the small stuff
- try to look for humor in problem situations
Find ways to reduce the physical tension caused by stress.
- practice relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga or tai chi
- have a massage
- take time for yourself; plan an activity which will help you forget your cares and responsibilities
- learn breathing control techniques; controlled deep breathing increases the oxygen flow to your blood and relaxes your muscles and mind
Reducing mental stress is also important.
- do not bottle-in negative thoughts; assert your feelings, opinions or beliefs instead of being passive, becoming angry or defensive
- talk to a friend, family member or therapist because expressing your feelings to someone who will not judge you is critical for good mental health
- laugh a lot – problems seem less debilitating when you can laugh at them
- practice positive affirmations which boost your self confidence
- look in the mirror every morning and remind yourself of all the positive things in your life
American Psychological Association www.apa.org
Canadian Cancer Society www.cancerconnection.ca (Healing and Cancer, Webinar, presenter: Dr. Rob Rutledge)
National Foundation for Cancer Research www.nfrc.org