You may be familiar with the symptoms of stress, including a pounding heart, increased perspiration, tight neck and shoulder muscles, anxiety and fear. [These are signs that your mind and body have gone into “fight or flight” mode.] But, you may not know how to prevent or relieve these symptoms. Stress can be triggered by events, ideas, memories, emotions or failed expectations, and for some, can be just one of the many signs of a behavioral health condition. A behavioral health condition like anxiety can impact how you go about your daily routine. At Blue KC, we are here to help you manage your stress as we continue to work with our providers and within our community to help treat a person’s whole self. The following tips can help you counteract the negative effects of stress:
A regular workout can release pent-up frustrations. Experts recommend getting 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week. Choose any aerobic activity: walking, jogging, bicycling, swimming, stair climbing or step aerobics.
One of the best ways to fight stress is to discuss your problems with a friend or relative, or write in a journal. Our immune systems get a boost when our feelings are released. It may even lead to a solution to your problem.
Pay Attention to Your Diet and Habits
A diet of wholesome, healthful foods can help stabilize your moods. Consuming caffeine, sugar, alcohol, nicotine and prescription or illegal drugs can increase your stress, making coping more difficult.
Make Time for Laughter and Fun
Surround yourself with happy people who like to laugh. Let the child in you come out, and you’ll find laughter is one of the best stress remedies.
Immerse Yourself in a Favorite Activity or Hobby
Give yourself a block of time to focus on a task or activity instead of on the problems in your life. Gardening, carpentry, sewing, working with clay, painting and drawing are good choices.
Use A Variety Of Relaxation Techniques
Deep-breathing exercises, progressive relaxation, visualization, creative imagery, yoga, meditation or listening to relaxation tapes can help.
Live in the Present
Many causes of your stress probably come from thinking about the past or worrying about the future. If you can plant yourself firmly in the present, you can leave worries behind and focus on enjoying the moment.
If you or a loved one suffers from a behavioral health condition that is causing stress, learn the ways to tackle the barriers to behavioral healthcare and seek help. You don’t have to suffer alone. For more information about Blue KC’s behavioral health offerings, call our behavioral health partner, New Directions, at 1-800-528-5763. This number can also be found on your Blue KC member ID card.