Developing Healthy Habits - Prolong Your Life

By CNN News Wire

Published 08/28 2014 08:23AM

Updated 08/28 2014 08:25AM

Stress.. it's everywhere.  But we have a choice in how we respond.   Turning to food, smoking or drinking can lead to obesity, high blood pressure or diabetes....all risk factors for heart disease and stroke.  

So experts suggest adopting healthy habits to cope with stress instead.

What do laughter, exercise and getting a good night's sleep have in common?

Besides making us feel good, they are also all "healthy habits" that can help control stress.  Here's a few you may want to practice, if you don't already.

First, take charge of your own health.

"The thing that I see that people could do more of is making sure they take care of themselves," says cardiologist Dr. Winston Gandy

That includes getting enough rest.

"If we can get regular sleep that will do an awful lot to how clearly you think," says Dr. Gandy.

And your ability to function. 

Speaking of functioning- get moving!

"Certainly an exercise regimen allows us a regular period of time where it's just us- where we can be physically active and also be clearing our mind."

But, you don't have to go it all alone.  Lean on family and friends for support, Dr. Gandy suggests.  "Sometimes all you need is a different perspective, a different way of seeing things to alleviate the things that you're stressing about

Other positive coping mechanisms?

-Laugh!  Whether with others or alone.. let go!

-Volunteer!  Helping others feels good and produces feelings of satisfaction.

-And slow down.  Think "pace" not "race."

(Carl Azuz for CNN's Health Minute)

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