Manage Stress Before It Manages You

Manage stress or face the consequences -- that seems to be the message from today's health care providers. Stress is a far more dangerous problem than we realized a few years ago. New research reveals the significant role stress plays in heart disease and many other disorders. Even relationships are affected by stress. Many of the marital problems I see in my private therapy practice are either caused or worsened by stress. In fact, stress has become such a big problem in today's world that every busy couple will have to learn how to manage stress or run the risk of allowing it to undermine their relationship.

In this brief article, we'll take a look at some of the most important effects of stress and the benefits of managing stress, many of which may surprise you. Plus, I'll share some of my favorite stress reduction tips that you can use to create a healthier, happier lifestyle. 

A Stressed PersonStress Got You Down? Learning how to manage stress can save your marriage add YEARS to your life.

Manage Stress: The Ill-Effects of Harmful Stress

Chronic stress has been tied to an increased risk of premature aging, heart disease and almost all illnesses. We may not be able to eliminate all the sources of stress in our lives, but we can improve the way we react to stress. Learning how to cope with stress in a healthy way involves the use of stress management techniques that help you to enjoy life more, have a longer fuse and avoid over-reacting to stress triggers. 

Stress has been shown to:

  • Contribute to heart disease and heart attacks
  • Blacken relationships and corrode your social life
  • Create work-related problems and decrease success 
  • Erode happiness and the ability to enjoy life
  • Worsen ADHD symptoms 
  • Contribute to burn-out 
  • Lower lifespan 
  • Cause or contribute to sexual problems 
  • Lead to hair loss
  • Impair athletic or artistic performance
  • Lower immunity and undermine health
  • Shorten the anger fuse 
  • Worsen or lead to emotional problems
  • Contribute to the inability to enjoy life

Studies Show How Stress can Harm the Heart

Stress can harm the heart. Although everyone feels and handles stress in different ways, stress can contribute to high blood pressure, ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, behavioral problems and addictive behaviors. Chronic stress can damage artery walls, increase hypertension and increase cholesterol. Do you feel tired, cranky or out of control? Stress probably has you by the throat. Research reveals the importance of learning how to manage stress for all of us, not only to prevent heart disease but to protect your overall health and well-being, your all-important relationships and career. 

People on the beachFinding Time to Enjoy Nature is a Great Way to Reduce Stress and Feel Good Without Breaking the Bank

The Benefits of Managing Stress 

Changes You Will Notice When You Manage Stress Effectively:

  • A decrease in anxiety and depression
  • A lower heart rate and blood pressure
  • A longer fuse and greater tolerance
  • Ability to live in the present and let go of the past
  • Deeper spirituality and connectedness to your Higher Power
  • Enhanced performance at work and school
  • Better, happier relationships that you can savor
  • Improved romantic and sex life
  • Loss of interest in judging others, worrying and seeking out conflict 
  • Improved ability to enjoy the moment 
  • A greater sense of happiness and peace 
  • Ability to be creative and spontaneous
  • Greater sense of connectedness with people, animals and nature
  • Enhanced power to let the small things go 
  • Increased susceptibility to love, appreciation and gratitude 

WARNING: Spending generous amounts of time in deep relaxation and meditation may lead to uncontrollable urges to love others, find the beauty in life and live the life of your dreams. Feelings of profound personal peace may result. Not recommended for those who want to sit around moaning and complaining. 

What You Can Do to Manage Stress and Improve Health Now

A Few of My Favorite Stress Reduction Tips

  • Taking a stress break, for a few minutes every day, can help to keep your mind and body healthy.
  • Listening to stress reduction audios takes the work out of managing stress. Just lean back, listen and relax. Our Hypnotherapy Audio, Bridges Beyond Stress has shown excellent results in reducing overall stress and helping people to reaffirm what's truly important to them. 
  • Exercising safely is one of my favorite stress busters, too. It's great for the body, brain and heart. 
  • Keeping a positive attitude is a big factor in reducing stress. Optimistic thinkers are happier than pessimistic thinkers and are more resilient throughout the lifespan. 
  • Avoiding excess caffeine can be helpful to your heart, unless you are sensitive to caffeine, in which case you'll want to avoid caffeine altogether.
  • Reducing alcohol consumption can help you to decrease stress, as well. Alcohol worsens depression and compounds coping problems. Plus, addiction can sneak up on you very quietly, especially during times of stress.
  • Find time for hobbies, smelling the roses and spending time in nature, and you'll chase the stress demons away!
  • Also, it's important to avoid smoking, which creates distress in your body in many ways. 
  • Eating a healthy diet is extremely helpful in protecting yourself against harmful stress. Eating a diet rich in plants and whole grains can be your greatest partner in your battle to manage stress.
  • Stopping to feed tropical fish, pet a dog or cat and observing wild animals in your backyard can be a great stress buster. 

Learn More About How to Manage Stress

Our original and informative articles will help you to manage stress more easily and effectively, and are based on decades of professional experience and modern research. Learn how to get a leg up on the stress in your life right now. Get Stress Tips that you can use in your daily effort to fight stress and lead a happier, more successful life. 

Find Stress Relief in this informative article and find techniques you can use on the go. 

These powerful Stress Basics will help you to find sources of your distress and identify effective measures you can take to lower and manage stress. 

Take a peek at some of the most common Stress Symptoms and get suggestions on how to overcome them. 


Proper diet is very important to lowering stress. Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn  of the Cleveland Clinic has done ground-breaking research proving that heart disease can be stopped and, in some cases, reversed by a plant-based diet alone. 

"Coronary heart disease is a benign food borne illness which need never exist or progress."

-- Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr. MD

You can learn more about Dr. Esselstyn, MD and his books on reversing heart disease at

Slowing down and learning what your stress triggers are can be helpful, too. For example, if you always find yourself stressing out during the holidays, take preventive steps this year. Do less, keep your plans smaller and simpler, and build in more time for self-care. The regular practice of stress management techniques can be a powerful tool in reducing stress, such as breathing exercises, yoga postures, deep relaxation and meditation. 

Research by Dr. Dean Ornish and others shows that stress management can have a beneficial impact upon the heart, relaxing the arteries, improving blood flow and enhancing the body's innate ability to initiate healing. Dr. Ornish's program for reversing heart disease is based on diet, stress management, connecting with others and expressing feelings, and monitored exercise. It has helped thousands of people to decrease their heart problems and lead happier, healthier lives. Read more about Dean Ornish, MD, and his amazing reversal program. Dr. Ornish has written several best selling books on diet and heart disease.

Dr. Joel Fuhrman wrote a great book, The End of Heart Disease, which is one of the best health books I've read in many years.  Dr. Joel Fuhrman is a pioneering physician who pioneered the "nutritarian diet," which protects against heart disease and promotes lasting health. His website is informative and helpful to those seeking to lose weight, manage health problems and achieve optimal health and longevity. 

Breathing exercises are a great way to manage stress. Dr. Andrew Weil advocates the use of regular breathing exercises, adapted from pranayama yoga, to not only decrease stress but to aid the body in healing from illness and disease. Andrew Weil, MD, offers many helpful resources on his website,, along with good information on improving your health and well-being. 

Happy Woman SmilingManage Stress and Grab Your Share of Happiness

In Sum

It pays to manage stress, since stress can be a causative factor in many health conditions and diseases, and can erode happiness, while contributing to numerous health-related problems. Stress can be a critical factor in heart disease and stroke, and plays a role in many other conditions. Stress can have a silent and harmful impact upon relationships, in particular, adversely affecting intimate relationships, such as a good marriage or any close familial relationship. You can add years to your life, as well as, making yourself happier and richer as a person by taking good care of yourself and managing stress in a proactive manner. 

Take the work out of managing stress and let an experienced therapist walk you through the basics of relaxing deeply and enjoying all the challenges of your life more. Check out our Bridges Beyond Stress audio program. You can listen to this program any time you are tired and stressed out. You'll feel better in a jiffy, and find solutions to the harmful stress in your life . . . all without even trying!