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Dealing with Fear

Stress & Fear

Stress is a fact of life for many of us, but it's actually a mild form of fear. Over time, without periodic relaxation, stress can seriously harm your health. Taking time to cope with stress is important for mental and physical well-being. A state of deep relaxation actually counters the fear response, decreasing muscle tension, blood pressure, heart rate and breathing rate.

Here are some simple stress-reducing activities:

  • Imagine yourself in a peaceful scene
    Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a tranquil place such as the beach. As you allow yourself to relax into the scene, fill it with details. What do you smell, feel, see and hear?
  • Breathe properly
    We tend to take quick, short breaths from high in our chests when we're stressed. But to get more oxygen to our brains and muscles and more toxins expelled by our lungs, we should breathe deeply from our abdomens.

    Try this simple exercise:
    With one hand on your abdomen, take a deep breath in through your nose, feeling your hand rise as you fill your lower lungs with air. Pause for a moment and then exhale through your mouth. Repeat several times, until you feel relaxed. With practive, you'll be able to use this technique whenever you feel stressed.
  • © iStockphoto.com/Eliza Snow

  • Get out and exercise
    Physical activity is a great way to release stress. A regular program of exercise can improve digestion, circulation, concentration and energy level while decreasing blood pressure and cholesterol level.
  • Try to put things in perspective
    Sometimes our stress is caused as much by our perception of a situation as the situation itself. When you feel yourself getting stressed, try taking a step back. Ask yourself whether you're worrying unnecessarily or excessively.
  • Put on some soothing tunes
    Listening to relaxing music - whatever style you prefer - can help you settle into a more peaceful state.

PLEASE NOTE: The information presented on this site should not be used as a substitute for consultation with a healthcare professional.