Stress can have a negative impact in your health and your ability to succeed. But what if I tell you that stress is only bad if you believe it to be bad. While stress has been made into a public health enemy, new research suggests that stress may only be bad for you if you believe that to be the case. On this TEDTalk, Psychologist Kelly McGonigal urges us to see stress as a positive, and introduces us to an unsung mechanism for stress reduction: reaching out to others.
In addition to the advise provided by McGonigal, here are five simple tips, from Harvard’s HEALTHbeat, that can help you reduce stress and prevent heart disease:
1. Stay positive. Laughter has been found to lower levels of stress hormones, reduce inflammation in the arteries, and increase “good” HDL cholesterol.
2. Meditate. This practice of inward-focused thought and deep breathing has been shown to reduce heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure. Meditation’s close relatives, yoga and prayer, can also relax the mind and body.
3. Exercise. Every time you are physically active, whether you take a walk or play tennis, your body releases mood-boosting chemicals called endorphins. Exercising not only melts away stress, it also protects against heart disease by lowering your blood pressure, strengthening your heart muscle, and helping you maintain a healthy weight.
4. Unplug. It’s impossible to escape stress when it follows you everywhere. Cut the cord. Avoid emails and TV news. Take time each day — even if it’s for just 10 or 15 minutes — to escape from the world.
5. Find ways to take the edge off your stress. Simple things, like a warm bath, listening to music, or spending time on a favorite hobby, can give you a much-needed break from the stressors in your life.
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