5 stress relievers to save your life this summer

Posted at 12:57 PM, Jun 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-21 15:57:24-04

The mercury is climbing, and for some, stress is climbing as well.

Children are out of school for the summer and either complain of boredom or need to be transported to camps and other activities. Going on family trips can induce headaches (packing, planning, whining from the backseat), and the heat can feel like a houseguest overstaying its welcome.

Stress isn’t just an annoyance — a fact of life that must be endured; rather, it can lead to health problems, including heart disease. Stress can trigger habits like smoking or emotional eating, which can lead to high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels, according to the American Heart Association. The stress itself may also directly cause a rise in cholesterol, according to a report by NBC News.

It’s vital for heart health to find ways to lower stress. Here are a few methods that can help.

If there is a magic pill for any number of health issues, it’s exercise. It boosts heart health directly, lowers stress and counters depression. While government guidelines recommend 30 minutes or more a day of “moderately intense” activity, even adding just 10 minutes each day can help. Just 60 to 90 minutes a week of physical activity can reduce your heart disease risk by up to half, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Find something you enjoy and make time for it, whether it’s swimming, walking in the cool of the early morning or dancing.



Looking for an oasis of calm and serenity during your hectic day? Meditation is the key. Five or 10 minutes of this method of focusing and quieting the mind can do wonders. WikiHow provides simple instructions for those new to the practice, including finding a quiet spot, following your breathing, repeating a mantra or using visualization.

Who wouldn’t want to use this easy technique for cutting stress? Watch a favorite comedy TV show or movie (or just a part that always makes you laugh out loud), search for some funny YouTube videos or look back on your favorite memes. Make your stress-relieving time count by combining laughter and socializing with hilarious friends. Schedule a lunch date or a casual evening get together with a few friends to play silly games and talk.

Play music
If your goal is to wrap yourself in a cocoon of peace and quiet, make some playlists of music or sounds that soothe you. Rain or ocean sounds can help you create a gentle environment. On the other hand, upbeat tunes that make you want to dance and sing along (grab whatever’s nearby to make an impromptu microphone) can work wonders in “blowing off steam,” as WebMD notes.

Keep a gratitude journal
Remembering and writing down the things you have to be grateful for can make you happier and healthier. Keep a small notebook by your bed and one at your desk (or wherever you spend the most time) to jot down the little and big things that are good in your life. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley’s Greater Good say the results of having people keep gratitude journals for just three weeks have been “overwhelming.”

Expert Robert Emmons writes, “We’ve studied more than 1,000 people, from ages 8 to 80, and found that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits,” including lower blood pressure, stronger immune systems, better and longer sleep, more alertness, more optimism and more social connectedness.

Find out more ways to take care of your one and only hard working heart at