Relax: Take Time to Recognize Symptoms of Stress and Rejuvenate for Spring

Here is a quick guide to controlling stress.

Relax

R–Recognize. Recognize when you are feeling consumed with stress. This is your first step toward managing stress effectively. Then recognize which things are actually causing you stress.

E–Exercise and eat. Exercise plays a crucial role in your mental and emotional health. It is one of the most recommended ways to relieve stress. Next time you are feeling overwhelmed with stress, try exercising and see how it makes you feel. Eat a balanced diet and avoid skipping meals. Eat breakfast and try to consume six small, rather than three large, meals a day with foods from all the food groups. This helps keep blood sugar levels steady helping to control appetite and weight. Avoid caffeine, cigarettes and alcohol. According to the American Institute of Stress, cigarettes, as well as caffeine-laden soft drinks, coffee, tea, and even chocolate, can cause the stress hormone (cortisol) to rise, blood sugar to drop, and hunger to prevail. The institute also cautions against drinking too much alcohol, which can affect blood sugar and insulin levels.

L–Let it go and laugh! Letting go of things that are out of your control can be a weight lifted. Too often, we become burned out by things that we have no control of, such as bad weather or missed deadlines. If you take a look at the stressors in your life, you may find that many of them are pointless. Things in life will not always happen according to plan. Find time every day to laugh. Laughing lowers stress hormones (like cortisol, epinephrine, and adrenaline) and strengthens the immune system.

A–Attitude. Your attitude is contagious and a very powerful sentiment. It influences every part of your life including self-image, relationships, business, and even health. Negativity won’t do you, or anyone else, any good. Do your best in everything that you do but learn to accept that you also have limitations and ask for help when necessary.

X–Xtra sleep. Sleep is a crucial part of life. It is just as important as physical activity and healthy nutrition. You should not take it for granted. Sleep renews and regenerates the body and mind. When we don't get enough rest, stress hormones like cortisol rise, making us feel hungry and less satisfied with the food we do eat. It is recommended that adults get 7–9 hours of sleep every night.

If you’re having problems controlling stress, talk to your Summit primary care physician about how you can gain control of this all too common problem. Need a doctor? Find one at summitmedical.com.