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More Tips for Coping with Stress from the American Heart Association

June 15, 2011

At Heart.org from the American Heart Association, they offer many ways to build heart healthy lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Their number one Most Viewed topic is Four Ways to Deal with Stress

Tips to relieve and manage stressChronic stress that causes an increase in heart rate and blood pressure may damage the artery walls. They suggest calming down with positive self-talk, emergency stress stoppers, finding pleasure and daily relaxation. Here’s a little about the last two topics:

Finding Pleasure

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.

  • Take a nature walk — listen to the birds, identify trees and flowers.
  • Start an art project.
  • Take up a hobby, new or old.
  • Read a favorite book, short story, magazine or newspaper.
  • Have coffee or a meal with friends.
  • Play golf, tennis, ping-pong or bowl.
  • Listen to music (during or after you practice relaxation.)
  • Play cards or board games with family and friends.

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.

Deep breathing is a form of relaxation you can learn and practice at home using the following steps, and use it whenever you feel stress.

  1. Sit in a comfortable position--feet on the floor, hands in your lap (or lie down). Close your eyes.
  2. Picture yourself in a peaceful place-- on the beach, in the mountains or floating in the clouds.
  3. Focus on breathing slowly and deeply.
  4. Increase the length of time each day.

There are also how-to videos available on their web page, along with other stress management tips and tools.

Photo by: mrhayata