By Andie Rowe, EdM, CWP
UnitedHealthcare Regional Health and Wellness Director
When stress grips your body, you know it. Your heart starts pounding, your muscles tense, your stomach feels tied in knots. The fact is, stress lowers the body’s immune system, increasing susceptibility to illness. Worse yet, it may contribute to some serious health conditions. Use these tips to help cope with everyday stress:
Remember to breathe. Inhale deeply and slowly through your nose, hold it for five seconds, then gradually exhale. Enroll in a yoga class to practice your breathing, relax your mind, and increase your strength and flexibility.
Take time for yourself. With spring in full bloom, spend some time in nature to escape daily stressors. Try to set aside time each day without access to your phone or email.
Be a healthier you. Eat a low-fat, low-sugar diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables and devote 30 minutes a day to exercise—this will boost your physical and mental health over time.
Laughter is the best medicine. Watch your favorite funny movie, or call a friend who makes you happy. Simply smiling more each day can lower stress.
Talk to a pro. Make an appointment with your doctor. He or she can recommend even more ways to manage your stress.