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Handling Stress: Doing It Right

Apr 11th, 2012

Handling stressWe all experience stress everyday. A healthy stress level keeps us motivated to accomplish our tasks. However, having too much of it can have a negative impact and disrupt how we function. Once we go over our stress limits, we tend to find quick fixes and sometimes do more harm than good. The next time you are tempted by unhealthy stress remedies, STOP. Think for a moment and consider healthier alternatives.

Quick fix one: Binge eating. A common response to excessive stress is making unhealthy food choices. Grabbing a box of donuts or ordering pizza are common reactions after a terrible day. While this may help us feel better initially, bad food choices can eventually cause our bodies to react negatively. In addition, this habit can contribute to the stress we already have.

>>Healthy alternative: Have a massage. A good massage can lower stress levels by promoting positive biochemical and physiological reactions. It reduces muscle tension, improve blood flow, and can give that general feeling of well being, preparing us to handle more stress. In addition, a satisfying massage promotes the release of hormones that help strengthen the immune system.

Quick fix two:  Drink alcohol. We may think that alcohol relaxes us after a hard day’s work. But the reality is, alcoholic drinks not only keep us from getting relaxed, it adds more stress by depriving us of a good night’s sleep and gives us  nasty hangovers; drowning our problems with alcohol will only make things much worse.

>>Healthy alternative: Get enough sleep. Good sleep has many benefits. It restores our energy, improves brain function, keeps us alert, and gives us that boost to help us deal with stress.

Quick fix three:  Watch TV. The average American watches about 5 hours of television every day. It may be tempting for most of us to sit on the couch and catch up with our favorite shows, but this will leave us feeling weak and stuporous afterwards. Studies have shown that watching too much television can affect the brain’s function and can be habit-forming.

>>Healthy alternative: Exercise. Don’t give in to the TV temptation. When you get home, change into your sportswear, head out and exercise. You don’t necessarily have to do strenuous activities each time, especially if you had a busy day. Walking around the block can be a good start. A twenty minute yoga session in your own home can also do wonders. A good exercise can help us feel satisfied and alert afterwards.

For more information about staying healthy and making health-conscious decisions, visit NYHealthInsurer.com.

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