Stress is a natural component of our daily lives. It can be triggered by anything that needs our greatest attention, from working late and being delayed in traffic to serious life upheavals such as death, divorce, or disease.

When you encounter a stressful circumstance, your heart quickens, you breathe quicker, muscles strain, and your brain utilizes more oxygen and increases activity. However, if the stress reaction lasts too long, it might affect your health.

You can't always escape stress in your life, but you can learn to manage it better. The National Institutes of Health propose these measures:

Set priorities. Decide what needs to be done and what can wait, and learn to say no to additional duties if you feel overwhelmed.

Stay in touch with those who can give emotional and other assistance. For example, contact friends, family, and community or religious groups to lower stress due to job duties or family concerns, such as caring for a loved one.

Take time to conduct soothing things that you like, like reading, yoga, or gardening.

Avoid compulsively worrying about difficulties. Instead, focus on what you have done, not what you have not been able to do.

Get frequent exercise. The benefits of taking a modest walk for 30 minutes every day are numerous, and they include improved mood and stress reduction.

Seeing a health professional is recommended if you believe you are using drugs or alcohol to cope with stress or if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts.

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