Heart & Vascular Program

Heart Health

Lifestyle: Stress

A positive attitude and lifestyle are key elements of stress management. Here are tips on how you can bring stress fitness into your life. Keep them handy and review them often. There is no single coping skill that will effectively help you manage your stress in all situations or all of the time. The best approach is developing a flexible set of techniques that works for you as an individual.

  • Give yourself a break. Go for a walk. Get a good night's sleep. Get away from it all.
  • Maintain a healthy diet.
  • Talk about problems and concerns. Do not bottle up your feelings.
  • Spend time with family and friends.
  • Take a course for fun or self-improvement.
  • Relax with a good book, a great movie or your favourite music.
  • Exercise regularly, whether it be walking, jogging, swimming, dancing or going to the gym.
  • Schedule your time and set priorities. Divide your workload into smaller tasks, focus on one thing at a time and enjoy a feeling of accomplishment you complete each task. Save some private time for yourself.
  • Find alternative sources of satisfaction.
  • Increase your awareness of what causes you stress and take action to address those situations.
  • Learn to say no. You cannot do everything for everyone. You will also end up having more time for yourself and the things you enjoy to do.

Simple Relaxation Techniques

  • Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet flat on the floor, arms resting in your lap, shoulders relaxed and your eyes closed.
  • Breathe in deeply through your nose, counting slowly to four and breathe out through your mouth. Repeat five times then pause and breathe normally.
  • An alternate exercise is to breathe in and out, counting on the exhaled breaths for a count of four.
  • Repeat this slow, deep-breathing exercise for ten deep breaths, then pause and breathe normally.
  • Repeat either breathing exercises for approximately five minutes.

If you're still not sure how to manage, talk to a health care professional.