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Make Peace With Stress This Season

Experts offer simple tips for banishing chronic anxiety

SUNDAY, Dec. 25, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- The stress of the holidays comes and goes, but ongoing stress -- even at low levels -- can harm health and well-being, experts say.

Here are some tips on how to protect yourself by learning how to manage stress day by day, according to the Mayo Clinic Health Letter:

  • Look for signs. Catch stress early by watching for signs such as headache, gut discomfort, tense muscles and fidgety sleep. If you notice these stress alarm signals, it's time to use stress-management techniques.
  • Exercise. Even a short walk can improve your mood and reduce stress.
  • Eat well. A healthy diet provides your body with the energy to handle daily stress. Making unhealthy food choices and skipping meals can lead to fatigue, greater susceptibility to illness, and a general feeling of poor health.
  • Set limits. Refuse some tasks to keep schedules less hectic. This will help you be more productive and successful with the tasks that you do decide to tackle.
  • Vent. Friends can provide important social support by listening to your frustrations or providing encouragement.
  • Escape. Pleasant distractions such as a good book or movie can help take your mind off your worries.
  • Bliss out. Relax with a hobby, exercise, meditation, prayer, slow breathing or anything else that provides you with a feeling of calm.
  • Still stressed? Get help. Seeking out help isn't a sign of weakness, it's good judgment.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about coping with stress.

SOURCE: Mayo Clinic, news release, December 2005
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