How to combat stress and improve your mood

Health

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — As many Americans confront the soaring COVID-19 death toll, political unrest and violence and shaky economy, many are feeling the stress of life.

More than 80% of adult Americans report emotions associated with prolonged stress, according to a post-inauguration Stress in America survey.

Dr. Thom Lobe, who operates in the Division of Pediatric Surgery at UI Health, says there are several things people can do right now that don’t cost a penny.

“We need to eat properly, make sure that we get good nutrition, stay away from the fast food, make sure that you get enough sleep and exercise is critical,” Lobe said. “Exercise is a great de-stressor and so many people have been sitting around on zoom all day long, the hours, exercise is just critical to maintaining good health and destressing,”

Lobe also suggests people incorporate breathing exercises to help them relieve stress.

“One of the common ones I like is a three, two, four breathing, where you have a nice, relaxed breath and breathe in for a count of three, hold it and then blow it out for a count of four and do that repeatedly,” Lobe explained. “If that is something that you practice multiple times during the day, anytime you feel stress, you can do that on your own and immediately de-stress.”

While some people may try to self-diagnose, Lobe recommends people get their hormones checked by a family doctor.

“People forget how important the hormonal balance can be. And for both men and women, for example, estrogen-progesterone, testosterone, the common sexual hormones that we see, are very important to understand that if they’re low or out of balance, it can cause undue stress in your system and make you feel very anxious and irritable,” Lobe explained.

Lobe also suggests wearable devices, like Apollo and Muse wearables, that help you de-stress, stay calm and help your heart rate to be more regular.

Courtesy: American Physiological Association

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