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Published on January 05, 2013

Don't Stress It

A New Year's Resolution to Consider

Have you made your New Year's resolution yet? Even if you have, here's another one worth considering: learn how to manage and prevent stress. When you do, you'll discover it can make a big difference in improving your quality of life.
 
Like most people, there are factors in your life that can be sources of stress. Family, career, relationships, social obligations and financial responsibilities, just to name a few.

When any of these become stressful situations, they can cause toxic feelings such as anxiety, depression, grief and sadness. Stress can also lead to harmful, bad habits, such as alcohol and drug abuse.

Here's the Best Way to Handle Stress

Very simply, the single most important thing you can do for stress is change your thinking style. Start by looking at things through a positive filter instead of a negative one. Sometimes what appears to be a stressful situation is really an opportunity or challenge that can bring about a change for the better.
 
Remember, it's not events that shape your world, it's your thought process. You can't control what others say and do, but you can control how you react or respond to them. When you learn to control your thoughts, you can establish boundaries of negative influences that affect your life. This will bring about a natural balance, like light and dark or hot and cold. For every negative, you'll begin to see an offsetting positive.

Six Helpful Tips for Reducing Stress

To help you better manage stress, Dr. Philip Bain of Dean Clinic - East suggests the following:

  1. Slow down and unplug. Don't worry about what's next, and don't overcommit. Take some time to relax.
  2. Control the need of always having to be in control. No matter how hard you try, you can't make the world bend to your will. It's a frustrating, hopeless struggle that that ends up producing more stress.
  3. Make a to-do list. Organize your thoughts and activities. Write them down. Then focus on doing one thing at a time instead of trying to multi-task. Start with small goals that you can easily accomplish.
  4. Try not to be bitter or angry. There is no bigger waste of time that accomplishes nothing. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said: "For every minute you are angry, you lose 60 seconds of happiness."
  5. Laugh a lot. When you laugh, it triggers chemical reactions in your mind and body that make you feel good. Laughter can also defuse a stressful situation and help you realize things aren't as bad as they seem.
  6. Breathe in some much-needed oxygen. Take a deep breath and count to three, then exhale slowly. Do that a few times when you're feeling stressed out. You'll be amazed how it can help improve things.

In addition, other positive lifestyle habits like exercise, healthy eating, getting plenty of rest and drinking alcohol in moderation are good ways to prevent stress. For more tools and resources to help you manage and cope with stress, visit our Stress Resources section.

Tell us - how do you handle stress in a healthy way?

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