Stressed out? It could age you prematurely.

The evidence is in. Being stressed for long periods of time can hurt your health, it can cause illness, it could shorten your life.

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Many deal

with stress

in wrong way


Only about half of Americans concerned about stress try to deal with it properly, a survey said.

Many turn to unhealthy behaviors such as overeating and smoking for relief and don't exercise, says a report published in the by the American Psychological Association.

But, those choices, researchers say, lead to increased health problems that ultimately make stress worse, USA Today reported.

"What's surprising and alarming is the fact that too many people weren't taking active steps to do anything about the stress they're feeling," Russ Newman of the APA told USA Today. "People don't really appreciate how detrimental stress is and the ways they're trying to manage stress can be as detrimental, if not more so."

Despite the numbers of adults who are very concerned about stress, only 55 percent are making an effort to manage it. That's a trend that could have long-term consequences for the health of Americans, Newman told the newspaper.



..How to Overcome the Stress


by The American Medical Association


..No one can avoid stress, but you can deal with it in effective ways that can help prevent health problems. You can learn coping mechanisms to help you manage your time better and change your response to situations that tend to cause you stress. You also can learn how to relieve stress and tension by counteracting the stress response with the relaxation response.

Manage Your Time

You will feel that you have more control over things if you can manage your time better.You will feel that you have more control over things if you can manage your time better.
Set goals and break large projects down into smaller, more manageable tasks so you feel that you're accomplishing something. Organize your closet, your desk, your kitchen, and any other storage area so you can find things right away. Plan what you're going to wear the next day the night before so you don't have to rush in the morning. Do tedious tasks first to get them out of the way and limit procrastination. Establish a routine and follow it. If you can, delegate tasks to others. All these techniques can save time and minimize stress.

Exercise Regularly

Regular, vigorous exercise defuses stress by boosting the brain's output of chemicals that counteract the effects of stress hormones. Exercise also gives you a sense of accomplishment, which increases your self-esteem. Improved muscle strength and fitness and the potential for weight loss can also make you feel better about yourself. Exercise fights depression and makes you more alert.

What kind of exercise is best? A combination of aerobic exercise - such as brisk walking, jogging or swimming - and strengthening exercises such as weight training provide the most health benefits.

Get More Sleep

Getting more sleep will help improve your judgment and make you feel better during the day. A good night's sleep will also keep down the levels of stress hormones. Try to get at least eight hours of sleep most nights. Try not to think about your problems late at night. You will probably sleep better if you can relax for a few hours before going to bed. For many people, worries and concerns can seem overwhelming in the middle of the night.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Eat a low-fat, high-fiber diet that contains plenty of fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. Avoid high-sugar, high-fat snack foods, which usually are also high in calories. That doughnut may give you a short-term boost but will soon make you feel weak and irritable as your blood sugar level plunges a few hours later. Limit your consumption of foods or drinks that contain caffeine; avoid them completely in the late afternoon and evening. Drink alcohol only moderately (one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men) because it can disrupt your sleep. Also, because alcohol is a depressant, it can trigger depression in susceptible people.

Maintain a Positive Outlook

A negative attitude can make every task seem daunting. Although it can be difficult if you're feeling low, try to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. For example, look at obstacles as challenges and defeats as opportunities to try harder. Avoid negative people because it's easy to be drawn into their pessimistic way of thinking. Seeing the humor in a situation can help lighten your mood.

Be Assertive

To get what you need, be assertive - but not aggressive. Aggressive behavior can be unhealthy for your relationships as well as for your health. Learn to ask for what you want. Don't be afraid to say no to additional work you can't possibly handle or to the person who always wants to chat during the workday and keeps you from doing your work. Keep in mind that being assertive doesn't mean being angry or rude, taking advantage of someone, or hurting someone's feelings.

Make Time for Leisure Activities

Plan some time each day for yourself, even if it's just a few minutes to read a book or magazine or take a long bath. On your days off, do something fun with your family or a friend. Take a vacation every year or at least try to get away for a long weekend. If you can't leave town, take time off work to relax at home, finish projects, or enjoy hobbies or other activities.

Concentrate on the Present

Don't brood about things that happened in the past. Holding on to regrets, anger or old grudges is especially harmful because it can keep you from enjoying life. Don't worry about the future. Think about the future in terms of changes you can make. Try not to worry about circumstances you cannot control.

Take Action

Once you have decided what to do about a problem, act quickly and decisively. Being proactive can give you a sense of accomplishment and can often immediately eliminate a source of stress. However, don't act impulsively - especially if you are angry. Wait until you have calmed down and worked out a sensible plan before you take action.

Don't Play the Blame Game

Avoid blaming other people for your problems. Even if you have been treated badly, holding on to feelings of anger, frustration or hostility can be harmful to your health. Also, blaming other people prevents you from making positive, constructive changes that can help you avoid similar problems in the future.

Get Help

AIf you feel that you can no longer cope, get help. Talk to your doctor, contact your hospital social services department, or go to a community mental health agency for a referral to a mental health professional. You also may benefit from joining a support group for people who have similar problems. Your doctor may recommend counseling to help you learn more positive ways to deal with stress or may prescribe medication such as an antidepressant. Medication can sometimes be useful in treating stress, but is most effective when used in conjunction with one-on-one counseling or therapy.

Mental Health Care & Solutions Are Available!

Learn to relax

Exercise, laughter and healthy eating help. With lots of practice you can become really stress resistant by using tools like - deep breathing, muscle relaxation, visualization and meditation.

With community education purposes only the information on this article in an excerpted from The American Medical Association patient education fact sheet.


Salud+HealthInfo is for information and educational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for personal medical attention, diagnosis or hands-on treatment. If you are concerned abut your health or that of a child, please consult your family's physician or health provider immediately and do not try to diagnose yourself. Salud+Health Info is published and distributed free of charge by Info Option Network (ION) Publishing Company. Copyright © 2001-2009 Info Option Network

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