All of us can benefit from a little less stress in our lives, especially for the busy entrepreneur. There’s more than enough stress to go around as it is, from everyday work stress to maintaining relationships, navigating social engagements, and wrangling the kids. If you put your mind to it, there are ways to reduce your stress levels.

What Exactly is Stress?

Stress is your body’s reaction to certain triggers. Everyone experiences stress, which can be triggered by a variety of events ranging from minor inconveniences to major life changes such as divorce or job loss. The typical components of the stress response include increased heart rate and blood pressure.

How to Deal with Stress in a Healthy Way?

Stress serves an important function in that it allows you to react quickly to threats and avoid danger. However, long-term stress may result in mental health issues such as anxiety and depression and physical health problems.

Eat and Drink to Improve Your Health

Some try to relieve stress by binging on alcohol or overeating. These seem to be beneficial in the short term, but they may actually increase stress in the long run. Caffeine can also amplify the effects of stress. Instead, try to eat a  healthy and balanced diet to help alleviate stress.

Regular Exercise is a Must

Exercise is a powerful stress reliever in addition to having physical health benefits. Consider non-competitive aerobic exercise, weight lifting, or movement activities such as yoga, and set realistic goals for yourself. Aerobic exercise has been shown to release endorphins, which are natural substances that help you feel better and stay positive.

Avoid Nicotine-Containing Products

Nicotine users frequently refer to it as a stress reliever. However, nicotine actually stresses your body by increasing physical arousal and decreasing blood flow and breathing. Furthermore, smoking can aggravate chronic pain, so if you’re suffering from chronic tension and body aches, it won’t help.

Try Relaxation Techniques

Taking time to relax every day aids in stress management and protects your body from the effects of stress. Deep breathing, guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, and mindfulness meditation are some of the techniques available. Many online and smartphone apps offer instruction on these techniques. Although some require payment, many are available for free.

Reduce Stress Triggers

If you’re like most people, you may have too many demands and not enough time. These mostly demand that we impose on ourselves. However, you can free up time by practicing time-management skills such as asking for help when necessary, setting priorities, pacing yourself, and scheduling time for self-care.

Set Reasonable Goals and Expectations

It’s also OK — and healthy — to admit that you can’t be perfect at everything all of the time. Consider the things you can control and work on accepting the things you can’t.

If you’re interested in any of these techniques, speak with your healthcare provider to get more information or other suggestions. Counseling can often help you identify stressors that are not immediately apparent.

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