Published on July 20, 2015

De-stress your life

Sooner or later stress will get to you.

Just make sure it doesn’t get the best of you.

Why? Because unmanaged stress is unhealthy. It can raise blood pressure, weaken your immune system, lead to weight gain—and more.

According to Tahir Maqsood, MD, Medical Director of Psychiatry at Mercy Philadelphia, these three techniques may help you manage your stress:

Breathe deeply. “It takes your mind away from things that are going on in your life,” Dr. Maqsood says. To try it, sit or lie comfortably and slowly breathe in through your nose. Then gently blow out through your mouth. Repeat this for two to five minutes. Some people find it helpful to recite a simple phrase, such as “I feel at peace.”

Take care of yourself. Eat healthy foods—but eat them as small meals or snacks rather than large ones. That can reduce stomach acid, which tends to increase when you’re stressed. Try to keep a normal sleep schedule. And make time to exercise. “It releases endorphins in the brain and makes us happy,” Dr. Maqsood says.

Talk to someone. Being with people you care about may help you relax. So don’t isolate yourself. “That unconscious process of making ourselves comfortable and at ease with the people we know—it cuts down on stress a lot,” Dr. Maqsood says.

If your stress feels overwhelming and you’re facing an emergency, call the Crisis Response Center at Mercy Philadelphia at 215.748.9525.