woman in meditative pose to reduce stressIn the hustle and bustle of modern life, stress has become an all-too-familiar companion for many of us. Whether it’s work challenges, family responsibilities, financial pressures, or health concerns, stress can creep into our lives and wreak havoc on our mental and physical well-being.

Decades of research has shown that mental stress activates coagulation, which can decrease blood circulation and increase the risk for blood clots. This may be of particular concern to people who have already experienced a blood clot, many of whom experience anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following this frequently life-altering event.

There are effective strategies that can help you manage and reduce stress, and help you cultivate a sense of calm and resilience in your daily life. These strategies include:

1. Identify Your Stressors

The first step in combating stress is to identify its sources. Take some time to reflect on what triggers your stress response. Is it work-related pressure? Health concerns? Relationship conflicts? Financial worries? By pinpointing the root causes of your stress, you can develop targeted strategies for addressing them.

2. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness techniques, such as meditation and deep breathing exercises, can help calm your mind and reduce anxiety. Set aside a few minutes each day to practice mindfulness, focusing on the present moment and letting go of worries about the past or future.

3. Establish Boundaries

Establishing clear boundaries in your personal and professional life can help prevent burnout and reduce stress levels. Prioritize your own well-being and don’t be afraid to say “no” to social events or personal commitments that overwhelm you. At work, delegate or ask for help when needed, and never allow co-workers or bosses to bully or gaslight you or your work.

4. Get Moving

Physical activity is a powerful stress reliever, releasing endorphins that boost mood and reduce tension. Incorporate regular exercise into your routine, whether it’s going for a walk, practicing yoga, or hitting the gym. Find activities that you enjoy and make them a priority in your schedule.

5. Connect with Others

Social support is essential for managing stress. Reach out to friends, family members, or support groups for encouragement and companionship. Sharing your feelings with others can provide perspective and help you feel less alone in your struggles.

6. Prioritize Self-Care

Make self-care a non-negotiable part of your routine. Engage in activities that nourish your body, mind, and soul, whether it’s taking a long bath, indulging in a hobby, or simply enjoying a good book. Remember that taking care of yourself isn’t selfish – it’s essential for your overall well-being.

woman journaling to reduce stress7. Practice Gratitude

Cultivate an attitude of gratitude by focusing on the positive aspects of your life. Keep a gratitude journal and write down three things you’re thankful for each day. Shifting your perspective towards appreciation can help counteract stress and foster a sense of contentment.

8. Get Organized

Feeling overwhelmed by clutter and chaos can contribute to stress levels. Take control of your environment by decluttering your space and creating systems to stay organized. Break tasks down into manageable steps and prioritize them based on importance and urgency.

9. Get Adequate Sleep

Quality sleep is essential for stress management and overall health. Aim for 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night, and establish a relaxing bedtime routine to signal to your body that it’s time to wind down. Avoid caffeine and screens before bedtime, and create a comfortable sleep environment conducive to rest.

10. Seek Professional Help if Needed

Managing stress is a journey, and if it becomes overwhelming it’s okay to seek help along the way. Seek support from a mental health professional. Therapy can provide valuable tools and strategies for coping and building resilience.

Stress doesn’t have to rule your life. By implementing some of these steps into your daily routine, you can reclaim a sense of peace and balance. In today’s world, we may never be stress free, but we may be able to find ways to help us stress less.

  • Learn more from medical literature about the impact of stress on coagulation and clotting here.
  • Access a suite of resources from the Blood Clot Recovery Network (BCRN) focused on emotional recovery following a blood clot here, or join BCRN’s online support group here.
  • Visit stress.org for a spectrum of general information and resources about stress and stress management.