Stress is a fact of life, but being stressed out is not. We don’t always have control over what happens to us, says Allen Elkin, Ph.D., director of the Stress Management Counseling Center in New York City, and yet, that doesn’t mean we have to react to a difficult, challenging situation by becoming frazzled or feeling overwhelmed or distraught. Being overly anxious is not just a mental hazard; it’s a physical one too. The more stressed out we are the more vulnerable we are to colds, flu, and a host of chronic or life-threatening illnesses. And the less open we are to the beauty and pleasure of life.
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Here are nine tips to help you manage your stress.
Know what stresses you most. Not your co-worker, friend, husband, or wife. YOU!! Get your feelings out. Write them out and describe each situation. Share all bad feelings with a friend or in a journal. Before you can conquer your stresses you must know what is stressing you. Say no. Focus on you own goals, not your spouse’s or parents’. You must know yourself, your dreams, and your passions. If asked to chair another group or take on another responsibility, look at your mission statement or goals for the day. If it is does not fit it there say thank you but I just cannot. Saying no is one of the hardest things in life, but will help make you a success in your chosen field. Learn to relax. Work hard but know when to take time off to be with the family, go to the beach, or read a book. Work all day if you must but when you get home play in the snow, watch cartoons, or tell your child a story. This allows stress tension to go away and helps you calm the heart’s pace and digest food normally, and protect your immune system. Learn to meditate and take deep breaths to calm down.
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Eat healthy. Eat less junk food and more fruit and vegetables for an amazing overall lowering of stress levels. We can actually lower the amount of the bad stress hormone, Cortisol, by taking vitamins. Take those vitamin pills daily. Keep laughing. Keep a sense of humor. Studies show a good attitude helps lower cancer rates, makes surgery more effective, and keeps a relationship together through hard times. Stay active. Exercise is a great way to relive tension and gives you a great break from exams. A healthy body makes a happy body. Even a three minute jog is helpful at taking your mind off your pressures. You’ll come back with an acute focus and renewed energy.