A stress-free heart is a healthy heart.

Valley Regional Medical Center shares tips for reducing and controlling stress

Stress. We have all felt it at one time or another, but many people feel stress too often. Some even feel it as part of their daily lives. Stress can contribute to numerous conditions like heart disease, stroke, immune disorders, gastrointestinal problems, sleep disturbances and sexual problems. Learning to reduce your stress can help you live a happier, healthier and maybe even longer life. Mental Health American offers the following tips for reducing or controlling stress:

Set realistic goals
Do not take on everything and learn to say no. If you feel overwhelmed, try eliminating an activity that is not absolutely necessary. Ask yourself, “what really needs to be done? Is the deadline realistic?” And ask for help if you need it.

Set time to meditate
It takes about 10-20 minutes to benefit from meditating. These moments of quiet reflection
may bring relief from stress, as well as increase your tolerance to it. It is simple to do: sit quietly, listen to peaceful music, relax and try to think of pleasant things or completely clear your mind of all thoughts.

Slow down
When you start to feel overwhelmed, try taking one task at a time. Make a list of things you need to do and prioritize the items. Once you have tackled something, mark it off the list. This can bring about feelings of accomplishment and confidence.

Be active
Regular exercise is a great way to reduce stress, and it benefits both the body and the mind.

Find a hobby
What do you love to do? By setting aside time for your favorite hobby, you will remove yourself from life’s stressors and you will be giving your brain a welcome break.

Learn to be more flexible
You don’t always have to be right. Being flexible when issues come up makes it easier to find middle ground. If you feel strongly you have the best solution, discuss your point of view in a respectful way and take the time to listen to other people’s perspectives.

Let go of perfection
When you expect too much from yourself or others, you may end up feeling frustrated, let down and disappointed. Remember that each person, including you, has shortcomings. But remember that you also have beautiful qualities to share with the world.