Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

February 13, 2013

Take action to control stress

American Heart Association
American Heart Association

— Empower yourself by taking actions to control your stress level. Set goals that are reasonable to achieve.

Select the actions you will take, starting this week (see more on the bold printed ideas below):

                 

I will practice using positive self talk at least once a day.    

    Yes    No    Maybe

I will remember to use emergency stress stoppers when I face stressful situations.     

    Yes     No     Maybe

I will spend at least 15 minutes every day finding pleasure in something that I enjoy.     

    Yes     No     Maybe

I will practice daily relaxation, such as deep breathing or another relaxation technique.     

    Yes     No     Maybe

I will add one of the 10 healthy habits to my life this week.

The habit is: __________________________.     

    Yes     No     Maybe



How many "Yes" answers do you have?

3 or more —     That's terrific! Take a week or two to get used to these habits, then think of more healthy habits you can practice to manage stress.

1 or 2     — Good! Work on these habits for a week, then take the quiz again. Maybe you will be able to add another "Yes" answer.

0     — Don't worry. You can create your own goal. Think of stress management techniques that work for you and practice them as often as needed.



Positive Self-Talk

Self-talk is one way to deal with stress. We all talk to ourselves; sometimes we talk out loud but usually we keep self-talk in our heads. Self-talk can be positive ("I can do this" or "Things will work out") or negative ("I'll never get well" or "I'm so stupid").



Emergency Stress Stoppers

Emergency stress stoppers help you deal with stress on the spot. Try these emergency stress stoppers:

• Count to 10 before you speak.

• Take three to five deep breaths.

• Walk away from the stressful situation, and say you'll handle it later.

• Go for a walk.

• Don't be afraid to say "I'm sorry" if you make a mistake.

• Set your watch five to 10 minutes ahead to avoid the stress of being late.

• Break down big problems into smaller parts. For example, answer one letter or phone call per day, instead of dealing with everything at once.

• Drive in the slow lane or avoid busy roads to help you stay calm while driving.

• Smell a rose, hug a loved one or smile at your neighbor.



Finding Pleasure

When stress makes you feel bad, do something that makes you feel good. Doing things you enjoy is a natural way to fight off stress. Try to do at least one thing every day that you enjoy, even if you only do it for 15 minutes.



Daily Relaxation

Relaxation is more than sitting in your favorite chair watching TV. To relieve stress, relaxation should calm the tension in your mind and body. Some good forms of relaxation are yoga, tai chi (a series of slow, graceful movements) and meditation. Like most skills, relaxation takes practice. Many people join a class to learn and practice relaxation skills.



10 Healthy Habits

Healthy habits can protect you from the harmful effects of stress. Here are 10 positive healthy habits you may want to develop.

1. Talk with family and friends.

2. Engage in daily physical activity.

3. Accept the things you cannot change.

4. Remember to laugh.

5. Give up the bad habits.

6. Slow down.

7. Get enough sleep.

8. Get organized.

9. Practice giving back.

10. Try not to worry.

— American Heart Association