Manage Stress

The Basics
When you take steps to manage stress, you help protect yourself from serious health problems like heart disease and depression.

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Try meditating to help you relax.

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The Basics

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Not all stress is bad. But long-term stress can lead to health problems.

Preventing and managing long-term stress can lower your risk for other conditions like heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and depression.

You can prevent or reduce stress by:

Some stress is hard to avoid. You can find ways to manage stress by:

What are the signs of stress?

When you're under stress, you may feel:

Stress also affects your body. Physical signs of stress include:

Stress is different for everyone. Take this quiz to better understand your stress. External Links Disclaimer Logo

What causes stress?

Change is often a cause of stress. Even positive changes, like having a baby or getting a job promotion, can be stressful.

Stress can be short-term or long-term.

Common causes of short-term stress:

Common causes of long-term stress:

What are the benefits of managing stress?

Over time, long-term stress can lead to health problems. Managing stress can help you:

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You can’t always avoid stress, but you can take steps to deal with stress in a positive way. Follow these tips for preventing and managing stress.

Being prepared and feeling in control of your situation might help lower your stress.

Plan your time.

Think ahead about how you're going to use your time. Write a to-do list and figure out what’s most important – then do that thing first. Be realistic about how long each task will take.

Prepare yourself.

Prepare ahead for stressful events like a hard conversation with a loved one. You can:

Relax with deep breathing or meditation.

Deep breathing and meditation can help relax your muscles and clear your mind.

Relax your muscles.

Stress causes tension in your muscles. Try stretching or taking a hot shower to help you relax.  Check out these stretches you can do.

Get active.

Regular physical activity can help prevent and manage stress. External Links Disclaimer Logo It can also help relax your muscles and improve your mood.

Find out more about getting active.

Eat healthy.

Give your body plenty of energy by eating healthy – including vegetables, fruits, and lean sources of protein. Get tips for healthy eating.

Drink alcohol only in moderation.

Avoid using alcohol or other drugs to manage stress. If you choose to drink, drink only in moderation. This means no more than 1 drink a day for women and no more than 2 drinks a day for men. Learn more about drinking in moderation.

Talk to friends and family.

Tell your friends and family if you're feeling stressed. They may be able to help. Learn how friends and family can help you feel less stressed. External Links Disclaimer Logo

Get help if you need it.

Stress is a normal part of life. But if your stress doesn’t go away or keeps getting worse, you may need help. Over time, stress can lead to serious problems like depression or anxiety.

A mental health professional (like a psychologist or social worker) can help treat these conditions with talk therapy (called psychotherapy) or medicine. Learn more about talk therapy.

Finally, keep in mind that lots of people need help dealing with stress – it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Start Today: Small Steps

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