Today’s challenge in the battlefield of life: stress and anxiety are affecting 40 million adults in the U.S. age 18 or older, based on studies by the National Institute of Mental Health. So how can you begin conquering stress today, before it impacts – or further impacts your life?
Follow along to discover ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle that will you help manage stress — exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, and capture enough sleep.
For the love of dogs
Tired of the elliptical or bike? Inside the Harvard Medical School report, “Get Healthy, Get a Dog,” experts highlight the many health and social benefits of having a dog, including reducing stress, being more active, and promoting social connection. As an introduction to the study, the University has created a video that spotlights a few prominent members of Harvard’s canine community. In addition, Elizabeth Pegg Frates, clinical assistant professor at the Medical School, shares study insight and how dog’s might be a wonderful addition to any community.
Key findings: ongoing research is showing that the health benefits of owning a dog are undeniable. Harvard Medical School reminds us that dog owners have lower blood pressure and healthier cholesterol levels, as well as a lower risk of heart disease, than non-owners. There are also many psychological benefits to having a canine around. Dog owners are less prone to bouts of loneliness, anxiety, and depression. Simply petting your dog can make you feel less stressed.
Tackle a full schedule in the office
It is true that a bad diet can impact your stress levels and overall mental health. Even the 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans is now reinforcing the message. To improve lunch, vending machines visits, and late night fast food runs during the week consider:
Rethinking the working lunch – Based on a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who ate lunch while playing or working on their computers, ended up eating more cookies (30 minutes later) than those who escaped their screen. Tactic: carve out 15 minutes and head to a conference room or outdoors for lunch versus eating in front of your computer. A reduced stress level and smaller waistline will be your reward.
Snacking smarter – The clock has struck 3 p.m. and your stomach is rumbling – is it time to visit the office vending machine? Actually it is fine to eat something to hold you over until dinner according to several Nutritionists. Tactic: head to the vending machine and choose a low-calorie cookie pack or a natural granola bar versus the supersized candy bar. Interested in saving time and money? Bring a healthy snack from home.
Locating healthy fast food – Working late and need a quick healthy dinner? Tactic: If fast food is the only option take a minute to look at the restaurant’s nutrition facts on the web before you go. This way you can make an informed choice and avoid a stressful last minute decision.
Evict those monsters under the bed
Which came first – the monsters, stress or poor sleep? The order may depend on your age, although if you had a terrible night’s sleep, you are not alone. Instead, you join 45% of American’s that experienced a poor sleep. Further, the National Sleep Foundation’s inaugural Sleep Health Index™ notes, that a terrible night’s sleep also impacts daily activities for the same group in a one week period. Taking a closer look, shows us The Sleep Health Index™ along with University studies indicate that losing only a few hours of sleep will increase stress, exhaustion, sadness and worst of all anger in the majority of us. So, win the battle with sleep deprivation by adopting these tips from the Nation Sleep Foundation tonight.
Do you have a favorite tip that has helped you win the battle against stress? If you do, take a moment to share your thoughts with our audience by adding a comment below.
Need more help? If the stress in your life is more than you can cope with, get help right away.
1 – National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
2 – Go to the nearest hospital or emergency room
3 – Call your physician, health provider or clergy
4 – Contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness www.nami.org 1-800-950-NAMI (6264)