How stress affects your health

Nearly 70% of Americans experience physical and mental symptoms of stress, but only 37% think they are doing very well at managing stress. Of those experiencing regular stress, the highest ranking stressors were the future of our nation at 63%, money at 62%, work at 61%, current political climate at 57% and violence and crime at 51%.

Americans are statistically among the most stressed in the world. Gallup’s report states that 55% of Americans experience stress, which is well above the global average of 35%.

Yes, FUN! Tap into your inner child and find some activities that genuinely bring you joy. What excited you as a child? What are some things you’ve been wishing to do but have put on the back burner? Go do them! Run through that sprinkler, swing on the swings, paint, color, take dance lessons, sing karaoke or get some ice cream from the ice cream truck.

Have you ever taken time to observe how you talk to yourself on a regular basis? When you receive a compliment, do you happily accept it or do you have a self-deprecating comment to follow? When life gets stressful, do you encourage yourself or do you beat yourself up and dissect everything you’ve done wrong?

Master to-do lists are the ultimate doom and gloom. Cue Mike Jagger.

I know how unbearable day-to-day workloads can be, but instead of staring at your daunting to-do list with a million tasks, ask yourself what actually needs to get done today? Are these deadlines realistic? What can I delegate?

By simplifying your to-do list, you get in the habit of prioritizing tasks so you can accomplish them faster and give yourself more breaks throughout your day.

Unfortunately, nothing new here. We all know how important sleep is for our health, yet we still don’t prioritize it. One thing that’s helped me get better sleep and enjoy stress-free mornings is using the Bedtime function in the Clock app on my iPhone. You eliminate the worry of oversleeping by setting a recurring alarm for each day of the week (and weekends.) It also gives you a gentle reminder to start getting ready for bed at whatever time you set.

Eliminating any plans that are not mandatory is one of my favorite things to help reduce stress. If you’re taking on more responsibility than you can handle, saying no to extracurricular activities can quickly help lower stress levels.

If you feel overwhelmed by plans or simply don’t want to go to something, say no! It might feel strange at first, coming from a former people pleaser, but the more you free up your calendar from unnecessary plans, the better you’ll feel and the more you can enjoy doing things that actually excite you.

Changing your physiological states changes your mental state and can help reduce anxiety and stress in real-time. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, go for a walk or do a few stretches to get your blood flowing back to your brain.

Movement isn’t only beneficial for our physical health and well-being, but it actually helps us clear our heads and ground us. That means stronger problem solving, focused efficiency and reduced anxiety and stress.