Apart from taking an emotional toll on you, stress also manifests itself in many physical ways.
From headaches, back aches and stomach aches to trouble sleeping and becoming easily irritated, stress can harm your body and lead you to make bad lifestyle choices – overeating, drinking too much and not exercising – that can increase your blood pressure.
The American Heart Association offers tips on how to fight stress in a healthy way:
Talk with family and friends.
Don't try to handle everything on your own. Turn to the people who care about you.
Engage in daily physical activity.
Physical activity can reduce mental and physical tension.
Embrace the things you are able to change.
Work toward a goal that you can accomplish, or do something you enjoy.
Remember to laugh.
Focusing on the stress and letting it consume you won't help matters. You need a release. Don't be afraid to laugh and enjoy life.
Give up the bad habits.
Drinking alcohol or caffeine in excess or smoking cigarettes can raise blood pressure. And avoid eating to deal with stress.
Find ways to pace yourself and avoid rushing, which only adds to stress.
Get enough sleep.
Aim for six to eight hours of sleep each night.
Give yourself more control over your life by organizing your tasks and demands and approaching them strategically.
Practice giving back.
Helping others can reduce your stress levels and help you focus on the positive things in your life.
Try not to worry.
Sometimes the things that seem the most pressing, aren't as important as you think. Take a step back and focus on what matters.