Many of us have become so wrapped up in our work and our busy schedules that we often lose touch with an essential component of our life – our own health. Days spent running and trying to manage more work than is possible, trying to meet unrealistic deadlines and rushing to avoid being late add a tremendous amount of stress to our everyday life.

Stress is recognized as the number one killer in today’s society. The American Medical Association (AMA) notes that stress is the cause of 80 to 85 percent of all human illness and disease and every week, 95 million Americans suffer some kind of stress-related symptom for which they take medication.

How destructive can stress be on your body?

"Stress is dangerous and can affect every system in your body," says Dale Healey, D.C., dean of the School of Massage Therapy at Northwestern Health Sciences University. "When you allow stress to affect your life, you are allowing it to influence every organ and every cell in your body." The AMA states that the effects on the central nervous system include anxiety, depression and fatigue. In the cardiovascular system, stress will impair the function of the heart and raise blood pressure. Stress also affects the immune system by lowering resistance to infections.

Stress is extremely dangerous and people need to know how to manage stress before it takes over their bodies. Dr. Healey is an expert in the area and has come up with a list of ideas to manage stress.

Dr. Healey’s Top 11 Stress Management Techniques

1. Add something beautiful to your life on a daily basis – for example, flowers.

2. Do some enjoyable activities whenever possible.

3. Walk, work, and eat at a relaxed pace.

4. Take a short break after meals to relax.

5. If possible, go outside at least once per day and notice the simple things such as the weather, scenery, etc.

6. During the day, whenever you remember, notice and relieve tension in your body. Breathe deeply and gently stretch and relax any tense areas.

7. If you notice your mind racing or worrying about the past or future, take a minute to breathe deeply and gently focus on something in the moment such as your breath, scenery, or birds.

8. Take breaks during the workday to relax.

9. Wear comfortable and loose clothing when possible. Take off your shoes when you can.

10. Avoid holding in feelings day after day; instead, find a safe place to feel, express and embrace them.

11. Get a massage regularly.

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