6 Heart-saving Stress Reducers
Stress helps the body adapt to changes in the environment. Changes in heart rate and blood pressure prepare us to act quickly, whether it's a physical threat or a pending deadline. However, over time, chronic stress can affect sleep, mood, and digestion. Stress seems to increase risks of anxiety, depression, obesity, Alzheimer's disease, and heart disease.
Video: How Chronic Stress Affects Your Brain
The amount of water you drink affects whether an event is stressful. A study of 52 subjects found that drinking more water leads to significant mood improvement, less fatigue, less confusion, and less sleepiness. The study found that drinking less water reduced feelings of calm, content, and positive emotions. A different study of 120 women found that the amount of water a woman drinks is associated with mood state.
Six less stress tips:
Keep water within arm's reach for quick hydration- are you thirsty now?
Exercise regularly (two or more 15-minute walks per day)
Get 7+ hours of sleep 
Take a break from stressors when possible
Avoid using alcohol or tobacco to cope
Recognize when you need more help- talk to friends, family, or a professional counselor
Workplace Wellness Wednesday is an awareness bulletin to help you make healthy lifestyle choices. It is not a substitute for your healthcare provider.
1. Florida Department of Health. Stress and Your Health. http://www.floridahealth.gov/programs-and-services/prevention/stress/index.html. Accessed April 29, 2017.
2. Pross et al. Effects of Changes in Water Intake on Mood of High and Low Drinkers. PLoS One. 2014; 9(4): e94754.Published online 2014 Apr 11. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0094754. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3984246/. Accessed April 29, 2017.
3. Munoz et al. Habitual total water intake and dimensions of mood in healthy young women. Appetite. 2015 Sep;92:81-6. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2015.05.002. Epub 2015 May 8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25963107. Accessed April 29, 2017.
4. Watson NF, Badr MS, Belenky G, et al. Recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult: a joint consensus statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society. Sleep. 2015;38(6):843–844. http://www.aasmnet.org/resources/pdf/pressroom/Adult-sleep-duration-consensus.pdf. Accessed April 30, 2017.