Want to get better at coping with stress? Try these tips.
ATLANTA - If your blood pressure is up, and you're feeling rundown, you may be stressed.
"For some people, heart palpitations are a way they realize they're stressed," Emory Healthcare internist Dr. Sharon Bergquist says. "For a lot of people, it's headaches or gastrointestinal problems."
Still, Bergquist says, stress isn't all bad.
"One of the most important things is, you don't want to avoid stress," she says. "You want to get good at stress. Because every time you handle stress, you get more confident in your ability to take on stress."
Regular exercise, yoga, and meditation can help you release tension.
And, Dr. Bergquist says, there are a few tricks to help you handle stress better.
"The good news is that the things that can help you build resiliency, over the long term, are things that anybody can do," she says. "You don't have to be born with these abilities."
Start by reframing how you view stress.
Instead of seeing stressful situations or people at threats, think of them as challenges.
If you're a "glass half empty" kind of person, try changing your approach.
"And you can learn how to be more of an optimist," Bergquist says. "You can kind of gauge how you respond to situations and make minor changes that really reframe your perspective."
Learning to be more grateful can also help you buffer stress.
"When you focus more on what you have than what you don't have, that naturally lowers your stress response," she says.
If you want to cope better, make time for the people who matter in your life.
"Invest in good relationships, at home, and with friends," Bergquist says. "Because the bigger, and the more supportive, your social network, the more you'll be able to buffer stress."
Finally, Bergquist says, when you feel out of control, focus on the small steps you can take to feel more in control.
We all have a choice, she says, no matter how small that choice is.
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