Stress management for better health

11679254_SFeeling stressed out? You’re not alone. Most of us have some level of stress. Our schedules are packed and there doesn’t seem to be enough time to cross everything off the ever-growing to-do list.

Some amount of stress is normal and even useful. Too much stress, however, can lead to headaches, chest pain, fatigue, upset stomach, and sleep issues. It can make you anxious, lead you to overeat and overwork your immune system.

This online tool from Kaiser Permanente can help you gauge how much stress you’re under and where it’s coming from. Here are some of the most effective ways to prevent stress overload:

Exercise. For many people, eating provides comfort during times of stress. But overeating can lead to more stress. Regular exercise is one of the best ways to manage stress. Walking is a great way to get started.

Acknowledge your feelings. Keeping a journal or talking with a trusted friend or family member can help you better manage stress. Seeing a professional therapist during times of severe stress can be extremely helpful as well.

Do something enjoyable. Volunteer work or work that helps others can be a great stress reliever. Hobbies can help, too. When you have a demanding life, it can be difficult to justify setting aside time for things like reading and even coloring in an adult coloring book. But it’s something you need to do to help balance out all of that hard work.

Learn ways to relax. Try a yoga class, learn breathing and muscle relaxation exercises. Get a weekly massage. Consider listening to soothing music and trying aromatherapy.

Laugh. Try to look for the humor in life. Laughter really can be the best medicine.