6 Tips to Better Manage Your Stress

By Jason M Carlton

In today’s society, more and more people are dealing with stress. It has become increasingly important to find ways to manage stress as it is shown to have a direct relation to your heart’s health. 

Less-Stress-Image-Intermountain

A study conducted by the American Psychological Association in July 2014 concludes that 73% of those surveyed regularly experience psychological symptoms caused by stress. In addition, 77% of Americans also experience physical symptoms such as fatigue, upset stomach, muscle tension, and headaches.

There are a number of factors that affect our stress levels, ranging from our job to media overloads. With the demand for our attention at critical levels, how can we manage the stress that comes along with it? Listed below are a few stress management techniques that can be used to help control our daily stress levels and make you feel better.

Cognitive and thinking stress management techniques

Our perspective of an event, rather than the event itself causes most of the stress we have.  That being considered, try to put the stress into perspective, always keeping in mind don’t sweat the small stuff.

Focus on the things that you have control of and not the things you don’t - such as past events

“Have an attitude of gratitude. Having a positive attitude can help regulate our mood and de-stress us,” said Brent Blaisdell, PhD, LMFT with Intermountain Healthcare’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP). “Spend three to five minutes a day thinking of the things that we are grateful for, such as your health, a steady income, or your family and friends.”

Behavioral aspects of managing your health

Simply getting up and moving around can help stress management. If you have additional time in your day, try putting together an exercise routine. Not only will it keep you physically fit, but it will also help regulate your stress levels.

Practice deep breathing techniques. Engaging in slow breathing exercises has been shown through MRI scans and psychological studies to essentially trick the brain into thinking “I am not stressed”. As few as seven deep breaths can help

While doing your breathing exercises, incorporate progressive muscle relaxation methods. Tense each muscle group for three to five seconds and then release. Start with your feed and work your way up the body. This can also be helpful for people who struggle with sleep. 

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Brent Blaisdell discussed these tips with Fox 13's Dan and Kerri as part of the 2014 My Heart Challenge. During the segment, he admits to using a few of these techniques before walking into the TV studio for the interview.